Longhorns head to Dallas to defend Big 12 Championship

Hicks Layton

Last year, Texas captured the Big 12 title at The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio, beating Iowa State by seven strokes. This year, the  conference tournament, which begins Friday and concludes Sunday, will be played at the Dallas Athletic Club, a course that no member of the Longhorns’ team has played before.

But that fact has had no impact on Texas’ confidence.

“I think they know what to expect,” Texas head coach Ryan Murphy said. “Having won that tournament last year is a great experience to build on, so we have that going for us. We’ve been working on the areas that you have to do well in to play well (at the Dallas Athletic Club).”

The Longhorns have been very consistent this season. The team has finished in the top 10 in every tournament thus far, winning twice. Texas is also ranked No. 7 in the nation and sits atop the Big 12 standings.

Not to mention the fact that Texas has seen some amazing individual seasons this year. Freshman Kaitlyn Papp racked up seven top-10 finishes, including six in a row and two wins.

“Her strength is that she doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses,” Murphy said. “She’s very mature for her age and she’s a hard worker. … She is a very competitive person, and she wants to be No. 1.”

Despite recent wrist surgery, senior Sophia Schubert, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion, has played some excellent golf this season. She missed several events earlier in the season while competing in the Evian Championship and the ANA Inspiration — both major championships on the LPGA Tour circuit — and recovering from surgery. In her five starts this season for the Longhorns, Schubert has finished in the top 10 individually each time, including a win at the Betsy Rawls Invitational at the UT Golf Club in October.

“Since the start of 2018, she has been building,” Murphy said. “Each week she has gotten stronger (and) sharper, and she is gaining confidence with each competitive round. Sophia is trending in the right direction.”

Dallas Athletic Club is a tough course, and scoring well there will be anything but easy. 

“I think everybody’s worlds away from the golf course (and) very calm right now,” Murphy said. “They know this is the time when you want to play your best golf, and we’ve kind of geared for this.”