Texas stretches lead at White Sands Classic

Behind another strong day from freshman golfer Sophie Guo, tied for a round-best five-under par 67, the nationally number two ranked Texas Longhorns women’s golf team increased their lead on the second day of the inaugural White Sands University of Houston Golf Invitational, currently ongoing at the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island here in The Bahamas.

Collectively, the Longhorns shot 10-under par 278, increasing their lead to a near insurmountable 18 strokes over second-place Arkansas after two days of competition. They are at 22-under par 554 over the first two days of competition. The third and final round is set for today, starting at 8 a.m. at the Ocean Club Golf Course.

On Tuesday, Guo, of China, was fantastic again, turning in an almost identical result from the opening day of competition. The 19th ranked women’s collegiate player in the United States shot a five-under 67 on the second day of competition and is 11-under 133 over two days. On Tuesday, she bogeyed the first hole, but then birdied the par-five second and hit another birdie on the par-four fifth. On the back nine, she birdied the 11th and once again sank an eagle on the par-five 13. Guo closed out the round by sinking a birdie on the 17th and shooting even par on the 18th.

“We were playing really good coming into this event, so we expected that to continue,” said Texas’ Head Coach Ryan Murphy. “I thought we played pretty good yesterday and again today. To come out here and expand on a lead was what we intended to do, and to be able to do it, I’m pretty happy with that. Sophie Guo is playing really good right now. Her last three rounds for us have been 64, 66 and 67, and those help a lot. We really like the golf course. Obviously, you have to be able to play in the wind and we have done a good job of that over the first two days of competition. You have to be able tp play in the wind – that’s the defense to this place, but there are birdies out there to be had. It’s not a forgone conclusion but I feel pretty good of our chances, especially if we could get it going again tomorrow. We have to come out here and compete, but I like our position.”

Texas’ Sara Kouskova, a sophomore, had the third-best round of all of the golfers yesterday, shooting a four-under 68 and is seven-under 137 over the two days of competition. Overall, on the individual leaderboard, she is tied for second with Houston’s freshman Karen Fredgaard. Texas has two other golfers in the top 10 as Kaitlyn Papp, the fourth ranked golfer in the nation, is tied for fifth at three-under 141 over the first two days of competition and Emilee Hoffman is in a three-way tie for ninth at one-under 143 over the first two days.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are a distant second in the team standings at four-under par 572 over the first two days of competition. They shot one-over 289 yesterday. Brooke Matthews, a redshirt sophomore, rebounded from a shaky opening round on Monday to shoot a three-under 69 yesterday. Over the first two days of competition, she is in a five-way tie for 16th at one-over 145. Leading the way for Arkansas is freshman Ela Anacona who is tied for seventh through two days of competition at two-under 142.

Tied for third in the team standings are the Oklahoma Sooners and the Georgia Bulldogs, both at four-over 580.

Leading the way for the Sooners is junior Kaitlin Milligan who tied for a round-best with Guo yesterday, shooting a five-under par 67. She had three birdies and a bogey on the front nine, and added three more birdies on the back nine. Over two days, Milligan is tied for seventh with Anacona at two-under par 142.

The top female golfer for the Bulldogs is freshman Caterina Don. She shot a two-under 70 yesterday after an opening round of three-under 69. For the tournament, she is at five-under 139. All of the other Bulldogs are yet to shoot under par.

The women’s competition wraps up with the third round today, and the men’s competition will get underway on Friday. More than 80 female golfers from 14 top National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools have come to The Bahamas for the collegiate classic, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island.

The 18-hole par-72 course carries a total yardage of 6,415 for women.

The event is sponsored in part by The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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