On Friday, North Texas competed in the third and final round of play at the Cowgirl Classic, hosted by Oklahoma State University, dropping one spot from their Day 1 standing to finish in fifth place.
This one-place fall came after the Mean Green carded a 36-over-par 324 on Day 2, the highest single-round score of the tournament for any team.
Head coach Michael Akers said the cold weather on Friday, particularly a wind chill reaching 32 degrees, played a role in the team’s high score as he said his players do not have much experience playing in those conditions.
“The conditions really got to us,” Akers said. “You’re dealing with the ball not going as far, extra layers of clothing on you normally don’t have. I think it just takes a lot of experience to know how to play in those conditions. Our team overall just doesn’t have experience playing in cold weather, and that definitely played a part in our performance today.”
In a field with seven of nine teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, North Texas (No. 16) topped Texas Christian University (No. 15) and the University of Kansas (No. 23).
The Mean Green finished behind the following teams, listed with ranking and in order of placement — Baylor University (No. 4), Texas Tech University (No. 21), Oklahoma State University (No. 18) and Kansas State University (No. 22).
Senior Lauren Cox was the top finisher of the tourney for North Texas, finishing tied for No. 10 individually at +8 overall. Cox ended an even-par Day 1 in second place, but an 8-over-par 80 in round three caused her drop to No. 10.
Finishing second for the team, junior Audrey Tan finished the tourney tied for No. 20 at 16-over-par. Tan’s third round 76 was her best round of the tournament and the best round of the day for North Texas.
Akers said he was pleased with Tan’s performance in scoring her lowest round on Day 2 after carding higher scores on the first day.
“[Audrey] just kept grinding,” Akers said. “She is an extremely hard worker and she didn’t get down yesterday, just kept her mind right. We’re just really happy the way she kept grinding and going.”
Next up was junior Patricia Sinolungan, who carded a 14-over-86 to finish at +20 and tied for No. 31. Sinolungan was tied for No. 11 coming into Day 2 after carding two rounds of 3-over-par 75.
Junior Katie Finley carded her highest round of the tournament with a 12-over-84 in round three, finishing tied for No. 35 at +24.
Rounding it out for the Mean Green, sophomore Emilie Ricaud carded an 11-over-83 to finish at +28 and tied for No. 40.
With this being North Texas’ third and final tournament of the fall, Akers said he is excited for the spring after being competitive with lots of Big 12 teams and feels his players have room to improve.
“In my mind, we still have not scratched how good we are,” Akers said. “We’ve faltered at all three events in some form or fashion. We have not played our best for three rounds yet.”
On Thursday, North Texas played the first two rounds of competition at the Cowgirl Classic, hosted by Oklahoma State University, finishing Day 1 in fourth place behind Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State. After a first-round score of 308, the Mean Green improved by 10 strokes in round two to 298, ending Day 1 at 30-over-par and 15 strokes off the lead.
The tournament features seven Big 12 teams in addition to North Texas and Brigham Young University. Although the first Golf Stat rankings of the season will not be released until Nov. 17, the official college golf rankings used to determine NCAA championship placement, Golfweek magazine, released updated rankings for the season on Thursday.
Based on those rankings, seven of the nine participating teams are ranked in the top 25 nationally, headlined by Baylor University (No. 4) and Texas Christian University (No. 15). North Texas is ranked No. 16 in the poll, ahead of every team in the field except Baylor and TCU.
Senior Lauren Cox led the way for the Mean Green, finishing the day at even-par and No. 2 individually after rounds of 77 and 67. Cox was one of two golfers to finish the day at or under par, and her second round 67 was the lowest single-round score of the day.
“Lauren had an amazing afternoon round,” head coach Michael Akers said. “She really carried us.”
Junior Patricia Sinolungan was next best for North Texas, carding two rounds of 3-over-par 75 to finish No. 11 individually at +6.
Akers said Sinolungan had a difficult start to her second round but was able to overcome it.
“I also feel Patty grinded this afternoon,” Akers said. “She started with two doubles in round two but kept fighting and finished [the round] at +3.”
Finishing the day neck and neck were juniors Katie Finley and Audrey Tan who each ended the day at 12-over-par and tied for No. 22.
Rounding it out for North Texas, sophomore Emilie Ricaud tied for No. 37 at +17 after rounds of 82 and 79 on the day.
Akers said conditions on the course were not good for Day 1, with winds gusting over 35 mph at times, and the forecast for Day 2 is not much better.
“The forecast tomorrow is really bad,” Akers said. “We need to manage the conditions and play smart. It will [be] mind over matter.”
UP NEXT: The Mean Green will play the third and final round of the Cowgirl Classic on Friday. Stay tuned for a full recap after the round concludes.
Featured Image: Senior Lauren Cox practices putting on Oct. 2, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas