Chemistry carries Women's Golf into Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational
March 25, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- One of this week’s perks for the Texas Longhorns is the comfort of home. They’re hosting the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational at The University of Texas Golf Club, where the Longhorns pitch and putt basically every day of the year.
They also feel at home around one another.
The unique advantage of youth -- UT starts four freshmen and a sophomore -- is mere proximity. The Longhorns all live within a door knock of each other at the San Jacinto dormitory on campus, and have taken such license to call themselves the “San Jack Crew.”
“We gather in our room, and oh yeah we eat together,” Katelyn Sepmoree says. “All of us eat together.”
And talk -- “Life, school, boys,” as Haley Stephens explains.
Sepmoree and Stephens are roommates, and always the conversation inevitably returns to golf.
“Sometimes we’ll just be there, and one of us screams. Something is bothering us on the course,” Sepmoree says. “Just talking it out helps, and being with the girls and having that support. Coming together makes us stronger off the golf course and on the golf course.”
The coming together often revolves around head coach Martha Richards and assistant Tracy Parsons. During the offseason, Parsons is a regular during Moncrief-Neuhaus workouts. The girls attest that Parsons “can hang,” and she’s their “biggest cheerleader.”
Richards exists as part motivator, part instigator -- which likely triggered the Longhorns to shoe polish their coach’s white SUV, and last Halloween, the San Jack Crew pulled on costumes, grabbed Chinese takeout and landed on Richards’ doorstep.
“Tracy makes you laugh, and Coach Richards tells you like it is and what we’re going to do about it,” Sepmoree says. “It’s a good balance, and that makes for a good relationship with all of us.”
That synergy pushed the Longhorns to a season-best second-place finish at the UNLV Spring Rebel Invitational in early March. Three players played the final day under par, and freshman Desiree Dubreuil led the Longhorns with her fourth-place individual finish.
“The main thing this team has done is finish really strong,” says Stephens, who posted a 2-under 70 on the last day in Las Vegas. “No matter what you’re doing, you want to put a good number on the board. I think we work really well as a team with that.”
This weekend, the Longhorns welcome another top-notch field. The three-day tournament begins Friday morning, and features seven of the nation’s top 25 teams. The tournament honors in name Betsy Rawls, a 1951 UT graduate who went on to win 55 professional tournaments, including eight major championships.
“It’s such a special tournament. It’s one of the longest running, if not the longest running, tournaments in women’s college golf,” Richards says. “It means a lot to us to keep hosting it. Betsy is such an accomplished player.”