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RECAP: Women’s golf faces Houston in tune-up for spring slate

RECAP: Women’s golf faces Houston in tune-up for spring slate

RECAP: Women’s golf faces Houston in tune-up for spring slate
January 16
20:46 2021

On Friday, the women’s golf squad traveled to the Golf Club of Houston to take on the University of Houston in a 27-hole exhibition contest.

The event was grouped into three 9-hole rounds of competition, with each team bringing six golfers. The first two rounds consisted of one-on-one competition between each team’s golfers, while the final round saw each side compile three teams of two to battle against each other with each member of a two-man team alternating shots.

Head coach Michael Akers said he and Houston head coach Gerrod Chadwell came up with the exhibition format together as a way to get their teams some competition. The two teams will meet again at the same golf course for the ICON Invitational on Feb. 22-23, currently North Texas’ first tournament of the spring.

“[The format] definitely was unique,” Akers said. “When you throw the alternating shots in, then you get a situation where you have two players playing each other’s shots, but they also had to play each other’s golf ball. That makes a difference, especially if you’re chipping and you’re used to how your ball reacts, now you have to play your [partner’s ball]. […] It was a lot of unique things to it, it was fun. Also, I think it was good to kind of bond the team. Especially since we have a newcomer, just getting that extra time.”

The Mean Green struggled a bit in the first round of competition, dropping four of their six one-on-one matches with senior Lauren Cox being the lone golfer to win her match, while Audrey Tan tied with her opponent.

The second round saw improved competition from the Mean Green as Cox and junior Katie Finley both won their matches. Junior Patricia Sinolungan and freshman Shreya Pal both tied their opponents, while junior Audrey Tan and sophomore Emilie Ricaud both lost.

In the third and final round, North Texas’ three two-man pairings were as follows — Cox and Tan, Finley and Sinolungan, Pal and Ricaud. Tan and Cox defeated their opponents, while Finley and Sinolungan tied in their match and Pal and Ricaud lost.

As the team’s upcoming ICON tournament will be held at the Golf Club of Houston this season instead of its usual venue in The Woodlands, Akers said it was important for him and the team to learn about the new course during Friday’s event.

“The other course, from a coaching standpoint, I was on cruise control because I’ve been out there so many times,” Akers said. “I’d never set eyes on the Golf Club of Houston. […] Just to kind of see the green complexes, the sand, how the wind reacts. There’s kind of a lot of trees around with the tall pines, so the wind will kind of swirl in there. […] As we were playing yesterday, I was just visualizing places we can go in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to better be prepared for the Golf Club of Houston.”

The Mean Green are coming off a fall slate which saw them rise to a ranking of No. 21 nationally, a program record, after playing in three tournaments against mainly Big 12 teams. Even with that success, Akers said the team will need to be very focused to start the spring as their toughest competition of the spring will come in their first tournament, the ICON Invitational.

“We can’t just sit here and say, ‘Oh, we had a great fall,'” Akers said. “For our ranking to stay where it is, the Houston field will be the most difficult field we face all spring, so I think it’s really important to be 100 percent focused and be prepared for that event. Overall, when I look at what we did in the fall and adding this new player, Shreya, it’s exciting.”

Featured Image: Sophomore Emilie Ricaud putts the ball during practice on Oct. 1, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas

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John Fields

John Fields

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