Longhorns capture Betsy Rawls Invitational for third straight year

Cameron Parker

The Texas Women’s Golf team found itself in a familiar position at the annual Betsy Rawls Invitational as they trailed the leaders heading into the final round. Unlike the team’s last tournament, where the Longhorns turned a one-stroke deficit into a nine-stroke victory, Texas began Sunday eight strokes behind the leaders.

If the Longhorns were going to pull off the comeback to win their second consecutive tournament of the season and their third straight Betsy Rawls Invitational, head coach Ryan Murphy would need a record performance from his team.

Not only did Texas turn in the best 18-hole round in program history at the UT Golf Club, freshman Sophie Guo also carded a school record and bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to lift the Longhorns to a two-stroke victory over Kent State.

“I knew we needed a low one,” said Murphy. “I knew we needed a 64, 65 or 66 if that was going to happen.”

Murphy got his 64 from Guo, whose score not only set a new individual school record relative to par but also tied the UT Golf Club competitive course record.

“I knew on the final day we had to make a lot of birdies, and that was my goal today,” Guo said. “Never stop. Just keep going lower.”

After a birdie on the second hole, Guo’s putter caught fire with three consecutive birdies on holes four, five and six to make the turn at six-under. Three additional birdies later — including one to close out her round on the 18th green after nearly holing out from the fairway — Guo finished fourth place individually and earned her first collegiate top-10.

“All around, her game is really solid, and I know she has a lot of confidence on the course.” junior Kaitlyn Papp said of Guo. “(It) shows on days like today.”

Papp has yet to finish outside the top-10 individually this season for Texas, finishing eighth at the Betsy Rawls Invitational after a solid 68 on Sunday. Papp was up and down on the front nine with a pair of bogeys and birdies each but played her final 10 holes at five-under par with birdies on 16 and 17, which proved critical to the Longhorns rally.

Texas will finish up the fall session in the Bahamas at the White Sands Invitational with a shot at the number one ranking on the line.