North Texas Daily

Women’s golf wins 3rd straight C-USA championship

Women’s golf wins 3rd straight C-USA championship

Women’s golf wins 3rd straight C-USA championship
May 04
12:00 2023

After taking home its third straight Conference USA title, women’s golf will compete in the NCAA tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina May 8-10. 

North Texas learned its regional placement on April 26 when it was announced on the Golf Channel’s NCAA Selection Show. The room filled with cheers as the No. 35 ranked Mean Green appeared on the screen as a six-seed alongside top-seed No. 2 Wake Forest University, No. 11 Arizona State University, No. 14 Florida State University and other nationally-ranked schools. 

“I’m so proud of this group,” head coach Michael Akers said following the announcement. “The program has been around for 40 plus years, and we went 40 years without a championship and now three in a row. It’s all about bringing in the right type of player and student-athlete — this group works hard.”

The first round of the tournament consists of six regions, with the top five teams from each region advancing to the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk in Scottsdale, Arizona on May 19-24. Akers said the goal is to win it all.

“Our goal is not just to win the conference championship — it’s to win the national championship,” Akers said. “We’re a 6-seed, and we’ve played against these teams all year. Getting a southern region is good for us — going to the east coast is good for us with the grass, the temperature and only one hour time difference.”

Previously in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the team battled through inclement weather to take first place in the C-USA tournament, narrowly defeating second-place Western Kentucky University by three shots as it rallied back in the final round. 

“We got inches of rain where we were at, and we couldn’t play the practice round,” Akers said. “We started and we got wet and then lighting came, and we had to go in. We ultimately drove the course in the rain and just looked at all the holes. It was absolutely a mess.”

Five out of six of the players competed on the course last year, which Akers said was a huge advantage. The first round of the tournament on April 13 was cut short due to a lightning delay and was finished early the next morning before continuing to round two.

“They handled the adversity really well, and it was very fun,” Akers said. “They made it a little closer than they should have at the end, but it was pretty awesome.”

North Texas held an 11-shot lead heading into the final round. The team finished with a 283-295-300 at 14-over par and was able to hold onto its lead late after Western Kentucky came within three shots. Graduate Patricia Sinolungan and junior Ellie Roth led the way for the Mean Green as they both earned All-Tournament team status as top-5 finishers.

“It was a course that we were pretty familiar with, and it was all about just keeping the right mindset going into the tournament,” Roth said. “We knew it was going to be a grind no matter what. We fought hard through the three days. We have an incredible team, and I’m just grateful to be a part of it.”

Graduate Audrey Tan, the team’s all-time top-performing player, finished ninth individually at six-over par. Coming into the conference tournament as the favorites, Tan said it was important that the team put nerves aside and did what they knew they were capable of. 

“Obviously, the results speak for themselves — we were very happy to win for the third time in a row,” Tan said. “There were nerves, but the goal was to win it anyways, regardless of where we stood and where we were ranked among the other teams. It was mostly just about playing our own game, playing the golf course, and that was our focus.”

This is the fourth time in program history that the Mean Green will compete in the NCAA championship. The team enters with the highest seed they have ever received in the regional. 

“We’ve got a little under two weeks to prepare and get as ready as we possibly can be,” Roth said. “I actually went to [North Carolina State] on a visit years and years ago, and the course is gorgeous. We’re all really excited and know that we can make something really special happen.”

Image Source Mean Green Sports

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Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

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