Consistency puts Women's Golf in striking distance
Oct. 31, 2011
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- On Monday at The University of Texas Golf Club, the Texas Longhorns were the model of consistency. All four of UT’s scoring players carded even-par 72’s in the first round of the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational.
UT’s 288 cumulative team total sits in second place, three strokes behind first-place Florida. Oklahoma State holds third place at a 2-over 290 team total entering Tuesday’s second round of the 54-hole event.
“They all played well. I think they all felt like they left a few out there, but that’s a good thing to have,” head coach Martha Richards said. “You want them still hungry to go out and get them back (in the second round). I think overall we played a lot of great golf. I feel good about it.”
Senior Nicole Vandermade probably had the most interesting route to an even-par day, and that’s almost come to be expected from the Canada native. Luck has a way of tormenting Vandermade on the golf course, but on Monday, she made it her friend.
After just rolling in a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole, Vandermade bombed what she thought was a solid drive off the ninth tee. But when she approached her presumed position in the fairway, Vandermade could not find her ball.
“It felt like it vanished into thin air,” Vandermade said.
Vandermade then cited a lost ball, and returned to the tee box for another drive. She ended up with double bogey on No. 9 and another bogey on the 10th had Vandermade at 2-over for the day. But she bounced back with a birdie immediately on the par-5 11th hole.
“When things like that happen, unlucky, I would have gotten down on myself and frustrated,” Vandermade said. “Now I just know to stay patient and get some birdie opportunities for myself. That birdie on 11 really got me back into the tournament.”
After a slow start, Madison Pressel used a 20-foot par putt on the sixth hole to ignite the rest of her round. Pressel’s drive went right off the tee, into the wooded hazard, and after taking a drop, Pressel hit her approach to the green, just short of the flag, where she eventually rolled in the subtle right-to-left breaker.
“It was the best putt I made all day, probably, because it feels like a birdie,” Pressel said. “When you hit in the hazard off the tee, you’re almost expecting to make bogey. It’s nice to make that par putt.”
A three-putt on the 16th hole put Pressel at 1-over, but textbook execution on No. 18 set her up for another birdie. Pressel, playing in the final team threesome, knocked a gap wedge within six feet of the cup, and calmly rolled in the birdie putt to join three other Longhorns at even-par for the day.
Haley Stephens, who started quickly with birdies on two of her first three holes, was consistently solid throughout all 18 holes. Distance control, particularly with her short irons, helped Stephens work for realistic birdie opportunities on many greens.
“My attention was there, and my focus was there. You can never complain about that,” Stephens said. “It’s our home course, so you feel like you can make good decisions about when to go for it, and when to hold back.”
Desiree Dubreuil, perhaps jumpstarted by a laser-like approach from the fairway bunker on No. 4, carded three-consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to make the turn at 3-under, but then she came back to even after three bogeys on the back nine.
“It was a pretty solid day overall. Bogeys happen out there,” Dubreuil said. “We’re right in the tournament. I think we’re right where we want to be.”