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Women’s golf suffers deja vu in 14th place finish at Red Raider Invitational

Women’s golf suffers deja vu in 14th place finish at Red Raider Invitational

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 suffers deja vu in 14th place finish at Red Raider Invitational
April 09
20:24 2016

Austin Jackson | Staff Writer

@a_jack17

North Texas women’s golf stumbled out the gates at the Red Raider Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, retracing their steps from last week’s SMU Invitational to finish in 14th place for the second straight week.

After a brief seven-day turnaround, North Texas posted a first round 325 on Friday, taking them out of contention.

The first round was a 28 stroke improvement from last week’s opening round of 353 but the effects were similar, leaving the Mean Green 37 strokes behind tournament host and eventual winner No. 26 Texas Tech University. North Texas was also 17 strokes behind the University of California, which closed out its first round in 13th place.

The Mean Green would improve in its following rounds, shooting 307 and 316 to close out the tournament, but it wasn’t enough to avoid its second straight last place finish.

“I think we’re all pretty tired from traveling,” sophomore Devin Edwards said. “Back to back can get pretty tiring, but we’ve enjoyed it.”

North Texas’ 947-stroke tournament tally left them 80 strokes behind first place Texas Tech and four strokes shy of the University of Tulsa for 14th place. However, the result marked a 26-stroke improvement from last week’s 973 cumulative score.

A large factor of the improvement was the stellar play of freshman Samantha Huang.

Huang, who grew up playing golf in China, said navigating the high winds at the Red Raider Invitational was a huge adjustment.

“Texas is a windy state for golf,” Huang said. “I’m still trying to get used to playing in the wind.”

After a first round 82, Huang had the best round of her freshman career, leading the Mean Green with a team-best 73 in her second round.

“During the first round, my putting skill and my approach shots were not really good,” Huang said. “After the first round, I told myself that I can play better and just tried to refuel my confidence, and I did it. I started to hit it where I wanted it to land and the ball distance was in control.”

Huang closed out her tournament with a five-over 77 to finish tied for 49th place alongside junior Eji Kwon. Kwon posted a pair of 78’s and a second round 76 to close out her tournament.

The team’s third best performance came from freshman Kalli Jennings, who grew up navigating the high winds of West Texas in her hometown of Andrews, located 111 miles south of the Rawls Course in Lubbock.

The familiarity with the course paid dividends. Jennings rebounded from a first round 82 by posting consecutive five-over 77’s to finish tied for 60th.

“It was nice to be close to home.” Jennings said. “My swing is starting to feel like I have good control, and I’m just looking forward to getting a few more putts to drop at conference.”

Both sophomores, Nyca Khaw and Devin Edwards, struggled to score in the wind on the lengthy bunker-laden layout of the 6,541-yard Rawls course.

“It was very windy,” Edwards said. “It’s an ‘inspired’ links course because it’s not by the sea. Bunkers, but not so much hills because it’s West Texas. It was a pretty long course.”

Edwards finished tied for 73rd after posting 82-81-84 while Khaw claimed 74th place with a 82-83-93 tournament.

The Red Raider Invitational was the Mean Green’s final postseason tune-up before the Conference USA Championships. Edwards said the team is optimistic about their chances going into postseason play.

“All of us are ready,” Edwards said. “We’re all there in our games, we just need to be more confident.”

North Texas will have nine days to regroup and get their swagger back before the C-USA Championship April 18th-20th in Fort Myers, Florida.

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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