Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Oct. 9 issue of The Daily Texan flipbook.
The Texas women’s golf team is looking to bounce back at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational this weekend after a disappointing 10th-place finish at the Schooner Fall Classic on Sept. 28.
Before the Classic, head coach Ryan Murphy said he was excited for the team to be back on the course competing and wasn’t focused on the match’s outcome. Freshman Bentley Cotton said she shared the same outlook as her coach but still set some individual goals before playing in her first event as a Longhorn.
“My ultimate goal was to get top 20, and I tied for 19th, so I achieved that goal,” Cotton said. “But of course I wanted to win. We wanted to win as a team.”
European players senior Agathe Laisne and junior Sara Kouskova will not join the team until the spring. Although the remaining upperclassmen have been leading by example, Cotton said it’s hard because Laisne and Kouskova were impactful players both on and off the field.
“It’s definitely different not having them this year,” Cotton said. “I know (Laisne) pretty well. She brings so much joy to the team, so it's definitely different being able to compete without them. They were in the lineup almost every time last year.”
The lineup will feature Cotton and fellow freshman Ashley Park. Senior Kaitlyn Papp will also join the Betsy Rawls Invitational lineup after not playing at the Schooner Classic.
“Between the two of them (Park and Cotton) … that was their first tournament in college golf,” Murphy said. “They know that they're counting, so that's enormous pressure. And then what was strange is that we were playing together as a group. We normally don’t do that … I think that in itself adds even more pressure.”
The Longhorns will look to capture the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational for the fourth consecutive year. Last year, they came back from an eight-stroke deficit heading into the final day before setting the program’s record for best 18-hole performance and beating out Kent State for first overall. Then-freshman Sophie Guo led the comeback, shooting 8-under par in the final round.
"It’s nice when you're able to produce birdies like (Guo) does,” Murphy said. “When she gets going into that groove, she can obviously (shoot) low. We were well behind Kent State going into that final round, and I just told them, ‘We don’t have anything to lose."
The Betsy Rawls Invitational will be a 54-hole tournament beginning Saturday and ending Sunday afternoon at the UT Golf Club. After the tournament, the team will be halfway through the fall season and compete in the Cowgirl Classic from Oct. 22-23 and the East Lake Cup from Oct. 26-28