North Texas Daily

‘We’re hungry’: Women’s golf ready to make run at repeat

‘We’re hungry’: Women’s golf ready to make run at repeat

‘We’re hungry’: Women’s golf ready to make run at repeat
January 28
15:00 2022

Having notched the first conference championship in program history last season, women’s golf enters the spring eager to build on its fall performance and work toward another title.

Last year’s conference tournament triumph gave the team an automatic bid to NCAA regionals, but wet conditions canceled the event without a chance to compete in a single round. It was the program’s second-ever trip to regionals and one which left the group eager for another chance.

“We’re hungry,” head coach Michael Akers said. “We didn’t have the opportunity to compete at regionals due to it being washed out, so that is certainly a point of contention for us. We want the opportunity to go to regionals and advance to nationals. We’re hungry for that.”

Typically competing in at least four fall events, the team played three this season — the Sam Golden Invitational, Schooner Fall Classic and Olde Stone Intercollegiate. It placed No. 11 out of 15 teams to open the season and No. 12 of 15 teams in the second event before breaking out with a No. 2 showing to finish the fall.

Leaving five tournaments to be played in the fall is a decision Akers said was intentional with the team adding another player to the roster this spring in Australian freshman Sakura Sugiyama. The decision allows the team to have a full contingent of nine golfers compete for the five traveling spots to an additional tournament beyond the usual four.

The Mean Green will begin that stretch in New Orleans, Louisiana, with the Tulane Classic on Feb. 13-15. They enter the spring at No. 65 nationally in the official Golfstat rankings, a few spots outside the top-50 range which will typically guarantee a team an at-large bid to regionals.

“We’re given a great opportunity to play some pretty good events in the spring and just see how well we can do,” senior golfer Audrey Tan said. “If anything, that’s motivation for us to work harder, knowing we’re right around the bubble, to get ourselves in a better position if possible. Keep working hard and keep striving to become better and hopefully improve that ranking towards the end of the season.”

Tan won the individual conference title last season as well and was North Texas’ top scorer in two of its three fall events. Placing No. 2 individually at the Olde Stone Invitational marked her highest finish of the fall while she also ended up No. 12 in the season opener.

A new addition to the team this season has made an early impact as well. After transferring in from the University of Kansas, sophomore golfer Ellie Roth competed as an individual in the first fall tournament and finished in the top 25. She was in the team five for each of the next two events and finished Nos. 40 and 43 respectively. Tan said her addition has brought a different kind of energy and fun to the team.

“The girls here are super welcoming and everybody goes the extra mile to do stuff for each other,” Roth said. “That’s a great environment to be a part of.  I’m not entirely too happy with how I played, but I’ve put in a lot of hard work on some technique in my swing over the last couple of months and I’m really excited to have a big spring.”

With the eight returners and Sugiyama joining the squad, nine players will be in the mix for the five slots to compete in tournaments. Competition between the players to earn those slots and qualify for tournaments is something Akers said can elevate the team’s performance.

“I think they’ve been really grinding over the offseason because they knew it was already hard to make the top five,” Akers said. “Adding Sakura, it’s going to be even more competitive to travel. That’s what it’s all about. With nine players on the team we’re going to have four at home and five on the road. That just leads to a competitive environment and hard work.”

Featured image: Current senior golfer Katie Finley playing in a tournament on March 29, 2021. Photo by John Fields.

About Author

John Fields

John Fields

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad