Texas women’s golf wins season opener for first time in 10 years

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For the first time since 2001, the Texas women’s golf team was victorious in the season’s opening tournament.

After going back and fourth with the Auburn Tigers all day long, the Longhorns were able to pull away down the stretch and claim the 54-hole “Mo” Morial Invitational title.

“We knew Auburn wouldn’t just lie down today, and they came at us and made some early birdies,” said head coach Martha Richards.

“We were playing solid at first but had a few hiccups that could have been costly. However, this team has grown tremendously, and they displayed extreme toughness by holding on to what was theirs even though another team was attacking.”

Texas’ late push was led by senior Nicole Vandermade who scored five straight birdies, giving her a team high 14 sub-par holes on the week, as the Longhorns reclaimed the lead over the final six holes.

“Nicole showed some great maturity, especially in turning her round back around,” Richards said.

Vandermade finished her round at 1-over 73, making her the team leader and placing her third overall, at even par on the tournament.

Junior Haley Stephens finished the round a 2-over 74 which was good enough to earn her a fourth place overall finish, equaling the best individual finish of her career.

“Haley is our steady-eddy,” Richards said. “She is a girl with a plan and stays with her game.”

Freshman Bertine Strauss finished off her first ever college tournament with a final round 74, putting her at 9-over for the tournament and placing her 11th individually. Madison Pressel finished tied for 21st with a three-round total of 14-over-par while Katelyn Sepmoree was 18-over on the week putting her in a tie for 30th.

One of the biggest surprises of the tournament was the performance of Texas junior Desiree Dubreuil who finished 2nd overall while competing as an individual. After shooting par the first two days, the Santa Ana, California native was 2-under on Tuesday. Her 2-under individual total for the tournament was just one stroke back of Auburn’s Carlie Yadloczky’s tournament winning 3-under-par.

“Des [Dubreuil] played fantastic,” Richards said. “It was great to see her play so solid, all the way from the qualifiers at home until today’s last round. When she gets in her place, nothing rattles her. She took care of her business and played great.”

Richards likes what the team’s season-opening win does for its confidence going forward.

“Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn, and this was a great chance for us to learn more about ourselves,” she said. “We have another notch in our belt where we know we can win against very good teams, even when they throw some of their very best golf at us.”

Printed on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 as: Horns begin year with win for first time in nine years.