Kent State's Karoline Stormo showcases strength by improving 19 shots at NCAAs

Kent State Athletics

Kent State's Karoline Stormo showcases strength by improving 19 shots at NCAAs

Women

Kent State's Karoline Stormo showcases strength by improving 19 shots at NCAAs

STILLWATER, Okla. – When Karoline Stormo arrived back at Kent State last fall for her sophomore year, she surprised her coaches and teammates with some new ink. On the inside of Stormo’s left forearm was a large tattoo of a lion, a symbol of strength and courage.

After shooting 27 over in her first 36 holes at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Stormo showcased the strength of a lion by carding a 1-under 71 Sunday at Karsten Creek. Stormo’s third round was an improvement of 10 shots from Friday’s opening 81 and 19 shots better than the 90 she fired on Saturday.

“I did not play like I wanted to yesterday and the day before, honestly, but I knew I had the game to play better,” said Stormo, who hadn’t shot in the 80s or higher all season.

Stormo, who is from Norway, averaged 73.37 strokes per round this season and posted five top-10s, including four straight finishes of T-6 or better entering the NCAA San Francisco Regional, where she was T-17.

Normally a long player who relies on her driver to set up her strong iron game, Stormo got sideways off the tee in the first two rounds at Karsten Creek, which places a premium on finding fairways.

“When you don’t have control over your long game, then it’s tough, especially out here with the rough,” Stormo said.

Stormo kept the driver in the bag more often on Sunday and found 10 of 14 fairways. As a result she made just three bogeys, which were offset by four birdies. (In the first two rounds, Stormo carded 13 bogeys, eight double bogeys and just two birdies.)

Kent State head coach Greg Robertson, who decided to walk all 18 holes with Stormo on Sunday, said his player was more patient off the tee in Round 3.

“She’s a fighter and she works as hard or harder than anybody we have on the team,” Robertson said. “Yesterday was just one of those deals, and that happens; it’s golf. I think that probably showed more about her than anything to be able to come out here in today’s round when we needed her and to do what she did. I’m really proud of her.”

The Golden Flashes, who made match play a year ago at Rich Harvest Farms, are in eighth place entering Monday’s final round. At 27 over, Kent State is just three shots clear of ninth-place Florida State. Stormo’s 71 was at least three shots better than any of her teammates in the third round.

“It’s going to be close,” Robertson said. “It will be a tight race tomorrow, but we’re certainly in a position that you want to be in. This is what you work all year for.”

With Stormo having turned her game around, Kent State is confident it can get the job done. Assistant coach Maddi Swaney actually made a deal with Stormo that if Kent State won the NCAA title this year, she would get a tattoo of her own.

Only it won’t be of a lion but rather “2018 National Champs.”

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