The UTD women’s golf team is preparing for the ASC tournament.
The Comets have not won a championship since their first season in 2008. The closest the team has come to a title was in the 2015 ASC Tournament, when they placed fourth.
Set to open the 2018 ASC Championship on April 23, the Comets enter the event as the No. 3 seed. UTD, ranked No. 30 in the NCAA, will face off against No. 14-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor and No. 21-ranked UT Tyler. The Patriots are coming into the tournament as the four-time defending champions and won this year’s ASC preview by 34 strokes under UTD.
“I love competition,” freshman Lindy Patterson said. “I love the pressure, and it’s really fun knowing we have a chance to go to Florida and play golf in a few weeks if we can win the ASC. UTD, Mary Hardin-Baylor and UT Tyler have been head to head all year, so we need to play our best golf and show we can beat some really good teams.”
The team has made improvements over the past 10 years under the instruction of head coach Butch Edge. This season, the team has garnered several new program records, including the lowest two-round record in program history, which was set at the Lady Bulldog Fall Classic on Sept. 11, when the team shot a 632.
“We’re very young, but every time we go out, we learn,” Edge said. “A lot of it is about getting into the mindset of confidence, knowing your ability, being an athlete and saying, ‘Let’s go get them.’”
The team’s performance on April 9 at the Sewanee Spring Invitational is the most recent indication of the difficulties it has faced this semester. Finishing at a season low of ninth place, the team struggled in the midst of freezing temperatures and high winds.
“Everyone had to play in it, but it was 22 degrees, the wind was blowing and there were snow flurries. On day two, we just hit the wall in the first six holes,” Edge said. “The biggest mistakes on that course was awareness. We were always on the wrong side of the wind. With the wind, we were always either too long or too short.”
The ASC Tournament will be held at the Avery Ranch Golf Club in Austin from April 23-24. The 72-par course features a difficult 18th hole, a 477-yard par 4, and is known for its rolling hills and 60-acre lake. In preparation for the course, the team has spent more time working on their technical skill by decreasing training time spent on their long game.
“This course is one where it’s not extremely long, so your short game is extremely important,” Patterson said. “That’s usually what tournaments come down to. We’ve been putting a lot work in these past few weeks, just seeing putts going into the hole and feeling better about our distances.”
Edge said he is optimistic about the team’s chances to make it to the NCAA Championship, but is conscious that the task at hand will take more than skill.
“It’s about composure in the heat of battle,” he said. “You’ve got to weather the storm, mentally and emotionally. The athletes that do are going to be successful.”
The ASC Tournament will begin April 23 and end the following day. If UTD wins, they will receive automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships as the ASC representative.
“I’m extremely proud of our young ladies,” Edge said. “We’ve had a long spring, but they focused on their classes and what they’re going to do here next week. It’s going to be fun to see how it plays out.”