The No. 19 Longhorns opened up 2017 with a bang, finishing third in the UCF Challenge in Orlando.
Texas fought back and progressed up the leaderboard following each round of competition. The Longhorns were tied for 10th-place after round one and sixth-place after the second round. The team’s ability to bounce back can set the tone for what might be a promising year for Texas.
Overall, the team shot a combined 10-under par, four strokes behind both Clemson and Miami (Fl.), who tied for first overall.
“We had an outside chance to get it done,” head coach Ryan Murphy said. “We came close. I’m definitely happy we’re in contention again. That has been the case with this team all season.”
The Longhorns were led by junior Sophia Schubert, who fired rounds of 72, 69 and 69. Schubert netted her second top-10 finish of the season by tying for
“Individually, Sophia played well from start to finish,” Murphy said. “I am proud of her effort this week.”
Other individual standouts include senior Haley Mills and freshman Emilee Hoffman, who both tied for 15th at three-under par.
“It was another good week for Emilee,” Murphy said. “Although she isn’t satisfied with her finish, she has played great for us all season long.”
Mills vaulted up the leaderboard on day three by matching Schubert’s score of 69 in the final round to help lead Texas’ charge back into the hunt for first place.
“I’m particularly happy with Haley’s final two rounds this week,” said Murphy. “We needed her to step up after a slow start, and she did. I am very proud of her for that fight back.”
Other contributors were senior Julia Beck (+4), who tied for 45th, and sophomore Maddie Luitwieler (+5), who finished the three days tied for 50th.
“Overall it was a good team effort,” said Murphy. “Maddie gave us a couple of good rounds and Julia gave us a good one today. All five contributed and I’m always happy when that is the case.”
Chieh Jessica Peng of Mississippi State won the individual competition by shooting a combined total of 11-under par.
Though his team didn’t claim an overall victory, Murphy said he saw glimpses of his team’s full potential. If the team plays consistently, Texas could be in contention to win many tournaments as the season progresses.
“The effort was definitely there today,” said Murphy.
The Longhorns will hit the links again in a couple of weeks when they face off in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate at the English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans.