Women’s golf kicks off fall campaign with high expectations – North Texas Daily
Women’s golf is eyeing a third straight American Conference championship as it begins its fall tournament slate.
After winning back-to-back Conference USA titles, North Texas begins its quest for a hat-trick at Texas A&M University “Mo” Morial. The tournament is the first of four this fall and will be held in Bryan, Texas on September 20-21.
“This year, not only do we want to get back to regionals, but we want to get to the national championship in Arizona,” said head coach Michael Akers. “That’s our goal and that’s what we talked about.”
Akers, the 2021 Conference USA Coach of the Year, has been looking to continue his success since taking over the program in 2016. Senior golfer Emilie Ricaud said it’s the little tweaks he makes that make the difference for the team.
“We are all different players and he understands that,” said Ricaud. “So he’s making sure we’re all working on different things to improve.”
Graduate golfers Audrey Tan and Patricia Sinolungan are entering their final year at North Texas. With back-to-back All-C-USA first-team honors, Tan should again lead the Mean Green in performance. Alongside Tan’s form, Sinolungan made the All-C-USA third team in 2021 and finished tied for sixth on his professional debut at the Simone Asia Pacific Cup.
Akers said Sinolungan and Tan are two of the best recruits he landed in college.
“Those two coming back are absolutely huge,” Akers said. “They are in their fifth year [and] they both have an incredible value ethic – from day one they have worked hard and I [have] probably never had a better recruiting class in my career than those two.
After five years in college, Tan’s decorated time in North Texas is over. Although she is still focused on the game, she said she was thinking about her impending departure from the team.
“Honestly, I’m very grateful and my goal is to have fun all the time,” Tan said. “But it’s even more evident last year because I’m very aware that my time here is coming to an end.”
In 2021, the Mean Greens finished 10th at the Albuquerque Regional to end their season. With the return of several key players, the team brings experience this season. Ricaud said the team wanted to win a national championship for Sinolungan and Tan’s final season.
“Then why not go to the nationals,” said Ricaud. “Because I know this is the last year for Audrey and Patty, it would be a great end to their college careers.”
The rest of the roster contains two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors, and one senior. Akers said every player on the team is different from each other and their focus is on how to train them individually.
“I think the key is just knowing how they work and knowing when to maybe change equipment, add a driver or change a golf ball,” Akers said.
After finishing their first tournament on September 21, the Mean Greens have a quick turnaround and will play the Oklahoma University Schooner Fall Classic starting September 24.
The selected image: A North Texas women’s golf player hits the ball during practice Sept. 15, 2022. Photo by Marco Barrera