HUNTSVILLE – Fighting through rain and a lengthy delay, the Sam Houston women’s golf team captured it’s first title of the season on Tuesday, winning the SHSU Bearkat Women’s Invitational at Raven Nest. Jenna Phillips closed with a 70 to win the individual title.
The Bearkats finished in a tie for the team title with Houston Baptist. The Kats won on a tie breaker which had to go down to the fifth scorecard. The round was delayed nearly two hours with heavy rain and the reminder of the round was played in intermittent rain.
Phillips, who entered the day as the co-leader, struggled out of the gate, with three bogies on her front nine. But she closed strong, birdieing four of her last six holes. Her six-foot birdie on 18 sealed the victory for both her and the team. Phillips was even par for the tournament.
Hanna Alberto was strong once again, shooting a 1-under 70 to ties for second with Lexi Brooks of HBU. Both finished 1-over for the tournament. Alberto joined Phillips as the only two golfers to post two rounds under par.
It is the first team title of the season for the Bearkats after last year’s record five tournament championships. For Phillips, this is the first title as a Bearkat for the junior out of Austin. Her previous best performance was a fourth-place finish last season at UTRGV.
The Bearkats will be back in action in two weeks, when they head to the Pat Harbottle Invitational in Seattle, Wash.
QUOTEABLES:Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the win…“This is exciting. They won, this is respect to HBU, but we won struggling. I am most proud of that. You need to do that. You need to fight for each shot. If you can win without your best stuff, it means you have a pretty good team.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on Jenna Phillips’ individual title…“That’s what dreams are made of. She has had a desire to win. She birdies four of the last six holes to win it. Tommy gave her a great pep talk. She knew it. She made a 6-footer. That’s what I love about Sam Houston. You come here with dreams, you believe and anything is possible. She was a good junior and she wants to be an elite player. I am really happy for her.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the confidence boost…“Last year was a record year. Winning is hard. We didn’t take it for granted last year. I just met with the girls and told them this was one of our better wins because they needed to win with each other. You have two new girls in the lineup. Just getting that first win together … one you do that, the next one is easier. They won while they were struggling. They didn’t give up. They knew they were in contention.”
Jenna Phillips on the excitement of the team win…“We had a game plan. We wanted to defend that title. The rain brought us all back in and got us re-focused. Every shot counts. That’s what coach told us right before this morning. It helped us get through the rain. It was close but we finished with a win.”
Jenna Phillips on the individual title and run in the back-9…“I knew I struggled on the front. I wasn’t hitting the ball that bad. My putts just weren’t going in for birdie. I used hitting the ball well to my advantage. I started focusing on my lines better, reading my putts. Coach Chain helped me a lot. I was focused in shot-by-shot”