Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas golfer Bentley Cotton heads to US Women’s Amateur Championship

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

With the putting green beneath her feet, senior Bentley Cotton knows how to stay composed despite next week’s hectic schedule. As she exchanges a laugh with her caddy, Cotton takes a deep breath and approaches the ball, knowing that sinking the next putt will secure her spot in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship — the nation’s leading golf tournament for female amateur golfers. 

Cotton competed in three tournaments in just five days, showcasing her dedication and skill on the golf course to land a qualifying score of 73 that sent her to the championship.

Cotton finished ninth at the Women’s North and South Amateur in Pinehurst; two days later, she qualified for the U.S. Amateur in Arlington before boarding a plane to Chicago for the Women’s Western Amateur.

Like the U.S. Amateur, regional amateur tournaments have two days of stroke play before the top players advance to match play. Cotton explained that the competition’s structure helped prepare her for the championship. 

“It gave me a little bit of a refresh playing in these events,” Cotton said. “I got to experience both the stroke play part of it and the match play, which is a huge advantage for the Women’s (Amateur).”

In the 18-hole practice rounds before each tournament, Cotton focused on learning the course — particularly the putting greens.

“Once you arrive at the course, you want to analyze the greens and get your feel down for the speed of the greens,” Cotton said. “Every course is the same in regards to trying to give yourself as many birdie chances as you can.” 

In 2019, Cotton finished the U.S. Amateur tied for 17th place but has not played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur since 2020. 

Since debuting as a Longhorn, Cotton has brought her stroke average down from 74.95 to 73.29 and completed 10 rounds with a par or better score across her junior season. Returning to the amateur event after three years, Cotton looks to turn the guidance from her Texas coaches into success. 

“It’s incredible what I’ve done in my years at Texas, and my coaches have definitely had a lot to do with that,” Cotton said. “(Ryan) Murphy, who’s our head coach, really dove into my wedges and helped me realize what I needed to do to become the next best golfer in the world.”

Cotton has played golf for Texas for the last three years but has practiced in Austin since she was 7 years old. Growing up in Austin, Cotton golfed at her neighborhood country club, the Balcones Country Club, and now primarily plays at the Austin Country Club. 

With her family and friends nearby, Cotton said she invites her teammates to her family’s house for team dinners, something she hopes to do to celebrate her second U.S. Women’s Amateur appearance. 

“I feel like I’m almost like the mom,” Cotton said. “Everybody’s a part of my family on the team, so we try and welcome them in and make them feel as if they’re home.”

Cotton will hit the fairways of Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles on Aug. 7 for the first day of matchplay as she hopes to further develop her professional career.  

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