North Texas Daily

Women’s golf looks to bunker down and improve on poor fall season

Women’s golf looks to bunker down and improve on poor fall season

February 18
00:09 2016

Austin Jackson | Staff Writer

@a_jack17

After a lackluster fall season where the Mean Green failed to crack the top ten once in tournament play, the North Texas women’s golf team enters spring with hopes to unlock their full potential.

The Mean Green enters the spring ranked 195th nationally, looking to unseat No. 49 Middle Tennessee State University as Conference USA champions.

Coach Barry Niemann took over as head coach of the women’s team in the fall after Jim Mitchell stepped down due to health reasons. Niemann said he hopes his young squad can build upon the lessons learned in the fall season.

“We have a young team, traveling with four underclassman in the fall,” Niemann said. “We’re looking to build on that experience. We never did play to our potential.”

In the fall, the Mean Green rolled out a young roster led by juniors Eji Kwon and Ali Christian, sophomores Nyca Khaw and Abbi Shaddix, and freshmen Kalli Jennings and Samantha Huang. Kwon, the team’s silent leader according to Niemann, has been a three-year starter for North Texas and has had the lowest stroke average since her sophomore year.

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

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

The team is also hoping the return of sophomore Devin Edwards galvanizes the team going into the spring. Edwards is recovering from a serious wrist injury that kept her out of fall play. 

“We’ve got a good player coming back in the spring that wasn’t with us in the fall in Devin Edwards,” Niemann said. “She’s coming back really nicely from that injury and is playing well in qualifiers.”

In their first competition of the spring at the All There August Challenge, Edwards sat out while the team placed 12th overall. But in next week’s tournament at the Islander Spring Classic in Corpus Christi, her long road to recovery is set to come to an end, as she is on the roster to make her first tournament appearance since last spring.

“My wrist feels great, but over the past year it’s been frustrating with rehab and just getting back on the course,” Edwards said. “I want to run and play great right away, but for now I have to walk”

Edwards said she physically feels fine, but her mental game isn’t quite ready for tournament play.

“My game’s not there yet, but accepting that is part of the process to get my game where it needs to be,” she said. “I’m very competitive, so I want to play great all the time and fight through. It’s a process.”

Another young standout on the North Texas women’s golf team is freshman Kalli Jennings. Jennings learned the game of golf in the high winds of East Texas, where playing the wind with draws and fades is a necessary skill.

Jennings prides herself on her ability to drive the ball deep as well as shape her shots.

“I’m an imaginative player. I like to move the ball around,” Jennings said. “I hit the ball further than most other girls, so that’s a big advantage.”

In the fall, Jennings had the second best scoring average on the team, finishing in the top 20 at the Bob Hurley Shootout in Tulsa. Regardless, Jennings described her freshman debut as “mediocre,” saying one thing she hopes to improve in the spring is playing with a winning mentality.

Coach Niemann said players like Jennings are the future of the program and part of the rebuilding process. But in her first tournament of the spring at the All There August Challenge, Jennings and the Mean Green stumbled out of the gates with a 12th place finish.

North Texas junior golfer Eji Kwon was named the the All-Conference USA second team in the 2014-2015 season. Courtesy | Mean Green Athletics

North Texas junior golfer Eji Kwon was named the the All-Conference USA second team in the 2014-2015 season. Courtesy | Mean Green Athletics

Coach Niemann said he wasn’t happy with the results, but he did see a silver lining.

“We are not taking advantage of our strengths, and we are making too many course management mistakes,” Niemann said. “I did see several positives, but we have a lot of work to do in order to be at the level that I know we can be.”

One positive Niemann saw was the improvement in the later rounds by Kwon, Khaw and Huang. Kwon shot a team-best 74 in her final 18 holes to finish in 32nd place, which helped elevate the Mean Green from 14th to 12th place despite rounds in the 80s by Jennings and Christian.

With four tournaments leading up to the C-USA Championship, Niemann said he hopes to have the team playing the best when it matters the most.

“We’re just trying to turn the program around and move up in the rankings,” Niemann said.  “We have a long way to go, but I am confident that this team will step up and get the job done.”

Featured Image: Sophomore golfer Nyca Khaw played seven games as a freshman and had a season-best finish at the Price’s Give Em Five Intercollegiate in the 2014-2015 season. Courtesy | Mean Green Athletics

About Author

Reporter

Reporter

Related Articles

0 Comments

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","https://chimpstatic.com/mcjs-connected/js/users/de9596854f37498d65b58fa8f/42480106fd1ae582112be0c96.js");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: The power of comedy and why censorship does not belong in it📝@JakeNTD 🖼️@ooopsrobynn https://t.co/4UTQrEJuDK
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
ROUNDTABLE: What to expect from football after a 1-1 start📝@Reed_Smith25 📸@Tzac24 https://t.co/S0V0XUTkUi
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
NEWS: DCTA launches GoZone program to mixed reviews📝@maccorey1 📸@meredith_holser https://t.co/WcJNYzFxSs
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
DOSE: ‘Malignant’: A glorious rollercoaster of camp and carnage📝@tarpwill https://t.co/iDnh4ZfQpo
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
@kiarastclair_: The @ntdaily also recruited some great new members! https://t.co/ze9ce9Vay7
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad

Instagram