The Oklahoma State women’s golf team is set to open the season on Feb. 2-4 in Orlando, Florida at the UCF Challenge, but they will have to do so without two of its top players.
Michelle Forsland, the Cowgirls lone senior, will not be able to travel due to a lingering hip injury that has forced her to be limited in practice.
Maya Stark, a top-50 amateur from Sweden, will also miss the Orlando tournament due to an NCAA eligibility issue. Stark signed with the Cowgirls last fall, but just arrived in Stillwater this semester.
“(Stark) is going to have to miss this first tournament because of an NCAA issue. It was something unforeseen on our part, it’s because she started later than what her clock was,” Robertson said. “She was supposed to start in August, so she’s going to have to sit out one tournament.”
Both Stark and Forsland were expected to make the trip to Orlando prior to the injury and NCAA issue. However, the Cowgirls team in still expecting a big weekend. The team is coming off a solid fall campaign that provided much needed experience to the young Cowgirl squad. Robertson said the team is ready to start the season and can compete with anyone it come across.
“I think they’re ready, I think they’re prepared,” Robertson said. “If they go down and play their game and play how they’re capable of. I think they’re capable of beating anybody they play against.”
Robertson said he and assistant coach Madi Swaney have decided which players are travelling to Orlando, but do not know the order of the team, yet. The travelling players are: Lianna Bailey, Isabella Fierro, Han-Hsuan Yu, Emma Whitaker and Hailey Jones.
With the lone senior out that leaves only one upper-classman in the top-5 for the Cowgirls along with two sophomores and two freshmen.
Fierro is coming into her first Spring campaign with the Cowgirls, but brings in an impressive fall campaign and an impressive showing at the Mexican Amateur. Fierro is all business coming into Orlando.
“I think our expectations are like before for all of our tournaments we are working as hard as before like when the season started last fall,” Fierro said.
The Cowgirls did not compete in Orlando last season, but Robertson was there as head coach of Kent State. Robertson’s team finished tied for second behind winner Vanderbilt.
Kent State will also be playing in a challenging field. Kent State won three of its four fall tournaments. This will be the second time this season the Cowgirls compete against the Golden Flashes. They last met in the final fall tournament at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Classic, which was the only fall tournament of Kent State’s schedule they did not win. The Cowgirls finished third and the Golden Flashes finished second. Fierro won that even in the solo category.
The young Cowgirl team seems up for the challenging field despite the key absences.