Cooper, Longhorns dominate Betsy Rawls Invitational

Cameron Parker

After coming close in their first two tournaments, the Texas women’s golf team finally broke through with an emphatic victory at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational last weekend.

The Longhorns finished at 10-under par, seven shots ahead of second-place Kent State at their annual tournament in Austin.

“I didn’t know what we were going to do today honestly, if you offered me what we shot I would have taken it last night,” head coach Ryan Murphy said after the win

Heading into the final round, Texas and Kent State were tied at one-under par, but freshman Hailee Cooper and sophomore Kaitlyn Papp propelled the Longhorns to their first tournament win of the season in front of family and friends.

Cooper has been nothing short of sensational this year, as she wrapped up not only her first tournament win, but also her first individual title finishing at nine-under par. Cooper has only played in three collegiate tournaments, and she still hasn’t posted a round over par.

“(Hailee) was spectacular today and (Kaitlyn) did what she always did,” Murphy said. “All five of our players were in it from the start of the day all the way through to the end and I’m really proud of the effort.”

Papp finished second individually, only behind teammate Hailee Cooper.

“We have a really good team dynamic,” Papp said. “I think we’re going to continue to have a great year.”

Coming off a second place finish to Alabama at the Schooner Fall Classic, where the team broke the program’s record for lowest 54-hole team total, Murphy and his players knew they were close to breaking through for their first win of the season.

“It was one of those weeks where we played really well, it just happened to fall on the same week Alabama went crazy,” Murphy said, following the Schooner Fall Classic. “But it certainly was capable of what we were doing.”

Of the six golfers who finished the tournament under par, three of them were Longhorn golfers — Cooper and Papp along with Agathe Laisne, who finished tied for fourth at two-under par.

Laisne competed individually rather than with the Longhorns, but capped off her strong first round with a 67 on Sunday, the lowest round of the day. After qualifying for the team competition in the first two tournaments, Laisne lost in the qualifiers to Greta Voelker.

“It doesn’t surprise me Agathe played well, that’s who she is, she’s a fantastic player and it was really close in the qualifying system,” Murphy said.

Voelker, playing in her first team event this year, finished the Betsy Rawls tied for 7th at one-over par. Junior Emilee Hoffman struggled in the first two rounds, but bounced back with a 70 in final round to finish seven-over par and tied for 23rd.

Texas plays its final fall tournament next week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the Cabo Intercollegiate before Texas’ winter break.