Women's golf seeks to begin season on par

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While the Texas golf scene was dominated by the men’s team last season, the women’s golf team quietly put together a solid season of its own. The Longhorns finished as runners-up in the Big 12 tournament and tied for 13 in the NCAA Championship.

Texas opens its 2013 season Friday through Sunday with the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn.

“This is going to be a great year,” senior Haley Stephens said. “We’ve had a lot of great preparation, and we have a good mix of players. We have four seniors and three freshmen going on the trip this weekend. We gel together, and we’re ready for great golf.”

In addition to their success in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, the Longhorns won two other tournaments. But that accomplishment was overshadowed by the men’s team winning a national championship. Stephens said that the men’s triumph has inspired her to do better.

“It really sets the bar within the culture,” Stephens said. “It gives me chills to see the pictures that they have taken and to see them day in and day out. I feel like I’m a part of that from the outside in. It feeds us knowing that now it’s been done.”

In addition to Stephens, the Longhorns return with sophomore Bertine Strauss, who finished last season ranked No. 98 in the GolfWeek Women’s Player Rankings. As a team, the Longhorns are 28th in the Golfweek rankings and unranked by the National Golf Coaches Association.

Stephens said she doesn’t look too much into the rankings.

“Rankings are good to see where you stack up, but there are a lot of politics in it,” Stephens said. “Numbers don’t define us. We don’t let those rankings determine how we are.”

Despite the rankings, the team is ready for the season to begin.

“We are all excited,” Stephens said. “We’re going to Nashville and for the freshmen, this is their first trip. There’s good excitement, and we all have good vibes. It’s a great environment to be a part of.”