Women’s golf looks to build off of strong finish into future

Women’s golf looks to build off of strong finish into future

CARROLLTON, TX - APRIL 03: at Maridoe Golf Club on April 3, 2018 in Carrollton, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)

Women’s golf looks to build off of strong finish into future
April 26
11:55 2018

North Texas women’s golf had its fair share of ups and downs this season, but the Mean Green managed to finish strong and are now ready to take on the 2018-2019 season. While it may seem early to start thinking about next season, a team with only one senior on the six-woman roster already has expectations going forward.

The team started the season slow and faced challenges due to injuries and lack of consistency, but they steadily improved and peaked in the conference championship April 16-18.

Head coach Michael Akers knew the team’s potential and managed to keep them motivated and pushed them to improve in both practice and tournaments.

“We’re in year two of our rebuilding process, and I feel like our season was good overall,” Akers said. “The rankings and scoring average improved, and placement at conferences was much improved. I’m pleased with our progression.”

The success the team saw was partially brought on by the abundance of resources they had to their disposal, like Maridoe Country Club, where they not only practiced but also hosted their own tournament for the first time in the history of the program.

“Maridoe’s practice facilities are great, and it has helped all of our games to be able to practice on such a tough golf course and to use their great-range and short-range facilities,” sophomore Lauren Cox said. “On the tournament side, I think it helped our team a lot to host our own event. We invited great teams to our event, and they reciprocated and invited us to theirs.”

The competition the team played against in their 2017-2018 season also helped prepare them for the main event, the Conference USA Championship.

In those championships, North Texas took fourth place behind a record final round and had two players, Cox and junior Sabina Pena, place top five individually. The finish gave them plenty of confidence heading into the off-season, and now they are focusing on building on this season’s success.

“It’s hard to go off to summer, but I’m playing in a few tournaments this summer to keep up my game,” Cox said. “Our coach was saying in our meeting he wishes we were going straight into our next tournament. We have good momentum to go into the first event of the fall.”

For the coaches, the off season will mainly be dedicated to recruiting more players to add to the roster for next season to add depth they previously lacked.

The team only had five healthy players to utilize in every tournament, which did not leave much choice on who to bring to each event.

“Every team can only bring five girls to the tournaments, so every time we have to qualify before we go,” senior Nyca Khaw said. “Having that competitive environment constantly helps us improve our confidence and other skills to be better to beat other girls on a team to go to a tournament, so you kind of have to own your spot.”

In order to create that competitive environment, the coaches will be focusing their attention on bringing in new players to add to the lineup.

“Recruiting is always the name of the game and always the top priority because, at the end of the day, it is all about the quality of recruits that you bring in — not necessarily talent but work ethic,” Akers said. “You have to find young ladies that want to play golf at the next level who are going to put in time that’s required for us to be successful. The perfect number in my mind is seven. We didn’t have enough this year so seven is the perfect number.”

Akers and his team show no signs of slowing down as they have yet to meet their potential, and that is what they aim to do in their upcoming season. The team has high expectations  for the 2018-2019 season and hope to finally earn the Conference USA Championship title. But in order to get that far, the team must remain patient.

“There’s never been a doubt in my mind about what’s going to happen here,” Akers said. “It’s just a matter of time. The NCAA rules have changed, and now it takes longer to get a program where you want it. I’m certainly looking forward to next year. After our finish in conference, I’m really looking forward to getting the roster where it needs to be and competing.”

Featured Image: Courtesy North Texas Athletics

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Simreen Kheraj

Simreen Kheraj

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