The golf teams’ fall seasons started and ended positively in anticipation of the upcoming spring term, despite rain hurting performance midway through the fall semester.
The season opened with both teams playing games primarily out of state, though some were canceled because of the weather. The fall session is shorter than the spring’s, serving as a sample of the teams’ skills and performance. Last year, the teams ended the fall season ranked 20th in the nation. This season, both teams ranked in the upper 50s and lower 60s in the NCAA national poll.
During several weekends, weather prevented the teams from practicing, as the courses were closed. Head coach Butch Edge said that while rain was a problem, it shouldn’t have kept the team from playing at the top of their game.
“We have a nine-week season, and it’s been so rough that we’ve gone 15 to 18 days at a time without practicing,” Edge said. “Other teams seem to do it though, so we need to fight through it and be tougher mentally.”
The women’s team played in New Mexico and Florida, with the planned games in Houston cancelled because of rain. Last season, the team placed fifth in the American Southwest Conference tournament, the best the teams have reached under Edge’s leadership. The team placed third in New Mexico at the Rockwind Links Intercollegiate. Junior Marissa Langer, who was named Golfer of the Week by the ASC, said this season has been a lot harder for the team due to the increased skills of the opposing teams as well as the weather but said she remains positive.
“We’re used to playing two round tournaments, and now we’ve increased to three (while also) facing tougher teams,” Langer said. “We’re still working toward what we had last fall.”
Men’s golf placed fourth in New Mexico at the Rockwind Links Intercollegiate and 12th in Georgia at the Oglethorpe Fall Invitational. The team’s performance at both led to them falling short of the top 15, which would lock them in place for the ASC tournament. Senior Brice Cooper, the only senior on the team, said the teams they faced at Oglethorpe were better prepared than UTD, catching the team off guard in the first round.
“(It was a) bit of a letdown because the teams there were a lot of top 25 teams which knock us down in the rankings quite a bit,” Cooper said. “We managed to come back in the second round which was a little nice, but by then it was too late.”
Both teams finished out the season at the Abilene Intercollegiate with the men’s team placing sixth overall and women’s placing second. Both Cooper and Langer were the top finishers, with Langer finishing with a low of 74, and Hardin-Simmons only beating her by one point. Looking toward the spring semester, Edge said he is confident the team while be ready for what comes next.
“Victory loves preparation; if you don’t prepare, you aren’t successful, and I think both teams understand that,” Edge said. “We got to work a little harder for the time we missed in the fall and doing our job, as I tell them, play the ball in front of you, not the one behind you.”