With one tournament left in the fall season, North Texas’ women’s golf team will conclude their fall season of play after competing in the upcoming Bahamas Invitational. The Mean Green hope to close out the season on a high note after finishing in 11th place in the Betsy Rawls Invitational in Austin, Texas. North Texas finished shooting 32-over par in a tournament where the top three teams were No. 2 Texas (19-under-par), No. 5 Kent State (17-under-par) and No. 23 Oklahoma State (13-under-par).
“The biggest impact was the weather,” head coach Michael Akers said. “The wind chill dropped into the 40’s and it altered our practice round a bit and in the first round we definitely didn’t play up to our potential. Most of our players are from warm climates and I feel like that had a lot to do with it and then we did better but we were so far in a hole we couldn’t come back up.”
The Mean Green will conclude the fall season of play after competing in the newly established Bahamas Invitational, which is slated to be hosted by Houston. The brand new Invitational will be played for the first time ever with a field of 15 teams, including Georgia, Baylor and Oklahoma. The tournament will also be featuring ranked teams such as Texas and No. 20 Auburn.
“I definitely feel like the weather is going to be more like what we faced in the first two tournaments,” Akers said. “It’s supposed to be low 80’s and we faced 90’s in Kansas State and [Southern Methodist] so I think that definitely plays into our hands.”
Despite the climate being less of a disadvantage, Akers’ expects the field to still be tough and prove to be a challenge. Nevertheless, he still holds the same expectations for this tournament.
“I just want us to shoot to our potential and try to break par every time we play, that’s what we’re gunning for,” Akers said. “We can’t play the opponents, [so] we play the golf course and then see where we stand with the others. I think that’s the important thing that you don’t get caught up with because there are 15 teams and you can’t control them — you can only control what you’re doing.”
The sport of golf has a uniqueness to it when it comes to competition: The goal is to conquer the golf course juxtaposed to other team sports where they directly compete against their opponents. Akers lauded that the focus should always be on beating the course and not worry about the rankings of other golf programs. International students tend to not be intimidated when competing with highly ranked programs on the golf course.
“I think that maybe American players tend to get more caught up in that more than international players,” Akers said. “International players haven’t been around ESPN, [American players] are bombarded with UT this and UT that and international players aren’t. We’ve had really good luck over the years with international players that just didn’t get intimidated, they didn’t get caught up in that they just went out and played.”
Sophomore Audrey Tan sees this tournament as an opportunity to prepare for the spring season of play. She’s looking to bounce back from her performance last tournament where she finished tied for 56th place and shot 13-over par.
“We’re really excited, I mean it’s the Bahamas so how could you not be excited for that,” Tan said. “It’s supposed to be a really good field and it’s our last tournament of the fall so we’re just really excited to end well.”
The golf course is a known LPGA course, which generated senior Lauren Cox’s excitement towards playing in the first-ever Bahamas Invitational. Cox expects the team to do well with the climate as most of her teammates, like Tan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and sophomore Patricia Sinolungan (Manado, Indonesia), are from warm-weather countries. Freshman Emilie Ricaud is also used to playing on an island as she hails from Noumea, New Caledonia, an island off the northeast coast of Australia.
“I think we will do great,” Cox said. “I know [Tan] and [Sinolungan] are from Malaysia and Indonesia and it never gets cold there. Our new freshman [Ricaud] is from New Caledonia which is an island and she’s never experienced cold weather or anything below 70 or 60 degrees. I think we’re really going to enjoy it and it’ll just be like a regular golf tournament and so hopefully we play well.”
Featured Image: Sophomore Audrey Tan watches her ball after hitting on the driving range during practice at Robson Ranch in Argyle, Texas on Sept. 19, 2019. Image by Jordan Collard