Head coach says Longhorns ready for Big 12 Championship

Jeremy Thomas

Continuing their momentum from their last regular season tournament, the No. 23 Texas Longhorns seek their first conference title since 2011 this weekend when Iowa State hosts the Big 12 Championship at The Harvester in Rhodes, Iowa.

In the PING/ASU Invitational, the team recorded the lowest three-round total since 2009 with a season-low 286 in the first round and consecutive 289s in the remaining two rounds of the tournament.

Head coach Martha Richards said all-around play from the team has played a crucial role in the Longhorns’ performance.

“I think we’re playing some good golf,” Richards said. “I think everybody on this team that has played for us this spring, which we’ve had seven different players play in our lineup, have all made really big contributions, and I feel improvements that I’ve seen and I think we’ve made ourselves a team that has a real shot to put a win this week.”

Two years ago, the Longhorns captured their last conference title. Seniors Madison Pressel, Katelyn Sepmoree and Haley Stephens played in the 2011 conference championship tournament. Pressel also won the 2011 conference individual title with a winning score of 8-under 208 as she shot a career-low and Big 12-record 66 in the second round. As a team, the Longhorns won their third Big 12 crown (1997 and 2004) with a score of 872.

Last year at the Lawrence Country Club in Lawrence, Kan., Oklahoma won the team title with a score of 64-over 904 and Texas A&M’s Mary Michael Maggio won the individual title at 9-over 219. In that 2012 championship, the Longhorns finished in second place, seven strokes behind the Sooners.

Richards said she believes the team is ready and excited to tee off in Friday’s opening round.

“We feel like we have a great shot and that we can make things interesting,” Richards said. “They don’t hand out the trophies based on who’s ranked higher; it’s who plays better this week. So I think our group is excited about going to compete and going to put up some good numbers no matter what the conditions.”