The Tar Heel women’s golf team begins play this season September 17-18 in East Lansing, Mich., in the Mary Fossum Invitational.
Carolina’s lineup in the season-opening event includes a fifth-year senior, a senior, a sophomore and two freshmen as the Tar Heels return to play at the alma mater of third-year head coach Aimee Neff.
Neff played for the Spartans from 2007-11, earning All-Big Ten honors four times, and was an assistant coach at MSU from 2013-16.
Two-time All-ACC honoree Kayla Smith leads the Tar Heels. The Burlington, N.C., native will be teeing it up in her 29th career start for UNC as the school’s all-time leader in stroke average at 73.50. Last year, Smith won her first collegiate title at Texas A&M and tied UNC’s single-season scoring record at 73.00.
Senior Crista Izuzquiza (Madrid, Spain) played her best golf as a Tar Heel a year ago, shooting in the 60s four times in the final round of tournaments, including a 66 in the third round of the ACC Championship. That 66 tied the second-best round ever by a Tar Heel in the conference championship.
Sophomore Megan Streicher (Cape Town, South Africa) set the UNC freshman scoring record a year ago, averaging 73.33 over 33 rounds in 11 tournaments. Streicher had Carolina’s best finish in four of the team’s last five starts, including a tie for 12th in the ACC Championship and a 7-under 209 for 12th place in the NCAA Pullman Regional.
A pair of freshmen are making their collegiate debuts this week. Ing Iadpluem comes to Chapel Hill from New Zealand and Reagan Southerland, the 2023 Georgia Women’s Amateur champion, arrives from Alpharetta, Ga. Southerland attended the Rivers Academy, the same school as UNC men’s golfers David and Maxwell Ford.
Junior Riley Quartermain (Bryn Mawr, Pa.), who played in six tournaments a year ago and shot 70 in the final round of the Pullman Regional, is playing at Michigan State as an individual entry.
“Both of our freshmen should have an impact on the program and with both qualifying for spots in the first tournament, that’s a good sign,” says Neff, who has led UNC to NCAA regional appearances in each of her two seasons as head coach. “We have a little more depth this year. That competitiveness from top to bottom should make us better as any one of the nine on our roster have a legitimate shot of playing.
“Kayla (Smith) returning for a fifth…