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Women’s golf finishes SMU Invitational strong

Women’s golf finishes SMU Invitational strong

North Texas freshman golfer Samatha Huang is ranked seventh among international players and is ranked 66th in the United States. Courtesy | Mean Green Athletics

Women’s golf finishes SMU Invitational strong
April 02
21:29 2016

Austin Jackson | Staff Writer


Although North Texas women’s golf showed true grit in its final 36 holes at the SMU Invitational, its first round hiccup proved costly, finishing in 16th place.

After posting 353 in first round, the Mean Green were left with an impossible task. North Texas was 58 strokes behind eventual winner No. 10 Oklahoma State University and 32 strokes behind Florida International University, who claimed 15th place.

But the Mean Green bunkered down, improving in each round to finish out the final round at Dallas Athletic Club with a final round 306, a 47 stroke improvement. The strong finish wasn’t enough to move up the leaderboard, which boasted eight of the nation’s top 50 teams

Junior Eji Kwon led the Mean Green once again, finishing tied for 64th place. Kwon righted the ship from her first round 83 to finish the tournament 76-75, but had trouble pinpointing the reason for the struggles of herself and her teammates.

“We shouldn’t be shooting in the 80’s and we really shouldn’t be shooting in the 90’s at all,” Kwon said. “We shouldn’t even come near there, and three of us did. That shouldn’t happen ever again. It’s the end of the year we only have two tournaments left, we should be shooting some low scores by now.”

Despite the 16th place finish, the tournament brought several signs of future success with team-wide improvement as well as the resurgence of sophomore Devin Edwards and freshman Kalli Jennings.

Playing in just her second tournament since April of 2015 due to wrist surgery, Edwards kicked off her first round with a eight on the par three 16th.

“It was almost humorous,” Edwards said. “I was so embarrassed and disgusted that actually threw up.”

She said she tried to calm down and stay positive after going 10-over through her first three holes, but the round didn’t get much better on her way to shooting 94.

“It was hard to come off that and want to keep playing,” Edwards said. “I tried to think, it is what it is and hopefully the day would get better, but then the next hole was rough and the next hole was rough. I felt really down on myself, because I was giving it everything I had.”

Earlier this year, Edwards said she will be fully recovered if she shoots in the 70’s in tournament play, and in her second round, Edwards did just after posting a second round 77. Edwards got hot on holes 10 through 18 with three birdies to go two-under through the nine hole stretch, closing out her first round in the 70’s since wrist surgery.

Edwards; played 17 holes on Saturday on pace to shoot in the 70’s but double bogeyed her final hole, posting an 81 to finishing in 81st place.

Kwon said the theme of her tournament was missed opportunities, especially with her flat-stick.

“I couldn’t make putts,” Kwon said. “My fairway in regulation and green in regulation were fantastic. That’s literally it. I couldn’t score.”

Kwon said she was reading the greens well, but could never find a groove with her putting stroke.

“I line it up great every time, but my head got in the way,” Kwon said. “Chickening out, leaving it short. I’d push it, pull it, blow it by. Something always happened.”

On the sixth hole of her second round, Kwon took the putter out of the equation by draining a chip from off the green for birdie. Her wedge stayed hot three holes later when she faced a brutal downhill pitch to a tight pin from 30 yards out. Undaunted, Kwon feathered the shot to within six feet, then got a putt to fall to save her par.

Sophomore Nyca Khaw played with freshman Kalli Jennings. Khaw said they both struggled with ball striking, finding the water too often in their first round. But today, Knaw shot 77 to improve five places, finishing tied for 74th. Jennings posted 75, tying her for the team’s best round of the tournament, finishing in 82nd place.

Khaw said she expects Jennings to lead the team to a good result next week. The freshman will return to her West Texas roots as North Texas plays April 8-9 at the Texas Tech Invitational in Lubbock.

Featured Image: Freshman golfer Samatha Huang is ranked seventh among international players and is ranked 66th in the United States. Courtesy | Mean Green Athletics

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