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Women’s golf finds diamond in the rough at Johnie Imes Invitational

Women’s golf finds diamond in the rough at Johnie Imes Invitational

Senior golfer Eji Kwon watches the ball after following through. Courtesy

Women’s golf finds diamond in the rough at Johnie Imes Invitational
October 05
17:27 2016

On Monday morning, North Texas women’s golf entered the Johnie Imes Invitational in Columbia, Missouri, eager to steer out of the skid of four consecutive last-place finishes.

But tension and poor course management snowballed into a rough start that, after 18 holes, brought the Mean Green down a frustrating and familiar fall to the bottom of the leaderboard.

North Texas’ first round score of 320 left the team 38 strokes off the pace set by tournament host Missouri University and 13 strokes behind 14th-place Rutgers University

Backed against a wall of pressure with 36 holes left to play, the Mean Green needed a historic performance to have a shot at sniffing the pack.

And after submitting its first round scores, the Mean Green did just that. North Texas broke its own record for the best round in program history, carding a five-under 283 to close out the second round Monday afternoon. The 37-stroke resurrection from the first round topped the previous best performance, a four-under round posted by the 2010 team in the final round of the Worldlink North Texas Classic.

The historic team effort brought the Mean Green in a tie for 15th place and after a solid final round, snapped the last-place streak to close out the tournament in 13th place.

Head coach Michael Akers said being on the course to witness his team’s collective grit and focus posting the 5-under round was special and represented an important moment in both the history and future of North Texas women’s golf.

Senior Eji Kwon led the charge for the Mean Green’s second-round comeback, posting a career-best five-under 67 in the second round. Kwon said sound course management and smart play helped her pull off the performance.

Instead of worrying about her score, Kwon opted to focus on the task in front of her.

“I didn’t know I was shooting a 67,” Kwon said. “It’s just golf. Once you’re worried about your score it doesn’t work. You just have to get lost in the moment, and I was lost for most of the tournament.”

After her 67, Kwon finished the tournament with a one-over 73, good enough for a 21st place tie.

Kwon has been a constant force for North Texas since her freshman year, leading the team in scoring from 2014-2016. But for the first time since 2012 , the Mean Green fielded a team without Eji Kwon on the roster. She said being left in Denton while the team competed in the Red Raider Invitational lit her competitive fire and brought a renewed focus to her practice and play.

“It gave me a wake-up call,” Kwon said. “I didn’t make the first tournament. It’s embarrassing. I’m a senior I should make it to every tournament, I really had to step it up and get back into serious mode. I had to get it done.”

Just like Kwon, junior Devin Edwards turned the sting and disappointment of not qualifying for the tournament in Lubbock into a career-best performance in Missouri. Edwards was solid all tournament, improving on her team-best 76 in the first round with a pair of 75s to close out the tournament at 10-over par.

After leading the Mean Green at the Red Raider Invitational, sophomore and recent transfer Sol Lee continued her tidy play, going one-under in the final two rounds to finish nine-over in a tie for 42nd place. Lee transferred to North Texas over the summer and has made an immediate impact, galvanizing the team’s level of competition as a consistent contributor. Lee said helping the team break a school record was exciting and evidence of the team’s growth.

“This tournament we proved to ourselves that we can do it,” Kwon said. “I’m just excited, for me and excited for everyone, for the team and the coaches. We proved we can do it all, together.”

Next up: The Mean Green compete at the Jim West Challenge hosted by Texas State University Sunday and Monday in The Woodlands, Texas.

Featured Image: Senior golfer Eji Kwon watches the ball after following through with her swing. Courtesy

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Austin Jackson

Austin Jackson

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