Pranati Chitta
Mercury Staff

Freshman breaks records by winning first tournament, scoring eagle in second 

Freshman Karen Alvarez had a strong start to her first collegiate golf season, placing first at the team’s opening tournament before matching a school record with a score of 70 in the second round of another invitational. 

Alvarez took the top spot at the Lady Bulldog Classic on Sept. 10 with a two-round total of 150, the third-lowest in team history. The Comets took second place overall at the tournament. Alvarez initially tied with Texas Lutheran player Summer Swift before the winner was decided via scorecard tiebreaker. 

Alvarez said she began playing golf at the age of five in Venezuela and continued when she moved to Katy in her sophomore year of high school.

“We had a small team (in high school) like here,” Alvarez said. “(Golf) helped me adjust to everything so it was a big part of my high school career.”

After graduating high school, Alvarez began practicing for collegiate golf.

“During the summer, I wasn’t taking any summer classes or work(ing), so I just practiced really hard and I would spend six hours usually on the course,” Alvarez said. “My coach told me to play collegiate tournaments over the summer, which was when I first played against college kids and didn’t play well at all.”

Alvarez attributes her mental skills and practice to improving her golf skills from the summer to her first tournament. 

“Golf is a very weird sport — you have it or you don’t,” Alvarez said. “It’s also a very mental sport, so for me, it was a mental thing. And after a while of practicing, my swing got better through my coach. A week before going into my first tournament, my swing was so bad, and I fixed it the morning of the tournament. It was definitely a mental change.”

Senior golfer Michelle Edgar also said that mentation is a big part of golf. Edgar took 25th place out of 52 golfers at the Southwest Christian Fall Invitational on Sept. 24 with a two-round total of 161.

“Golf is a very mental sport and (Alvarez is) very mentally mature and is very calm and collected on the course, which is really important for golf,” Edgar said. “She works very hard at practice and is driven, passionate and motivated. It’s really good to see those things early on because it shows how great she’s going to play in college, and she hasn’t even reached her full capacity yet. It’s exciting to see where she can grow from here.”

Alvarez scored an eagle at the Southwest invitational, matching the school record of 70 and closed out the event in seventh place with a 36-hole total of 146, breaking junior teammate Lindy Patterson’s record of 148.

“The fact that she performed super well is just awesome, so everyone was super happy for her,” Edgar said. “We were surprised because it’s never really happened.”

Alvarez said that she focuses on being in the moment rather than thinking about the tournament as a whole. 

“You’re not really thinking about your end score, you’re just thinking about that one shot in that one moment and what to do with the next shot after that,” She said. “My head was in each shot rather than in the ultimate score so the way I adjust my own game is by each shot and not by the actual number in the end and more importantly shots in the past.”

At their tournament against Southwestern Christian, the Comets broke school records with four players shooting in the 70s, and finished in third place with a two-round team total of 606, the lowest in school history. The Comets have their next tournament on Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 against Mary-Hardin Baylor.

“It feels really rewarding, I’m really seeing that all the effort I put in actually comes out,” Alvarez said. “I want to shoot my best and do the best I can do — the lower I can go, the better. I’m just trying to be the best player I can be.”