By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
Baylor women’s golf finished second out of 17 schools at the two-day Cougar Classic in Charleston, South Carolina. The Bears finished the second day with one shot out of first place and 22-under-par.
The Bears were sitting in fifth place overall with 8-under after the first day of the tournament, only eight shots behind The University of Georgia. Sophomore Rosie Belsham set the tone for them in the first day, as she shot 7-under, putting her in fourth place individually. Belsham made 10 birdies, which was the fourth-most in the field. Sophomore Britta Snyder was only two shots back of Belsham, at 3-under-par and in ninth place. Snyder was 3-under on par-5’s, which was tied for eighth best in the field.
Freshman Antonia Matte had an outstanding debut as she finished the first day tied with Snyder at 3-under. She rallied back from being 2-over through her first eight holes, with birdies on five of her next six. Matte also made 27 pars the first day which was tied for second-best in the field. Head coach Jay Goble said Matte’s debut was impressive and her future is bright.
“She is a superstar in the making,” Goble said. “To shoot a couple under par in your first college tournament and not play your best, is pretty amazing. I’m proud of her and I’m excited for [her] future.”
Senior Gurleen Kaur finished 3-over, rebounding from being 5-over through her first nine holes. Junior Hannah Karg closed out the first day being 7-over. She also finished out strong, having birdies on her final two holes of the day.
Goble was happy with the team’s effort after the first day of the tournament, but knew they had more in them going into the second day.
“I’m happy with how hard they competed,” Goble said. “I’m happy with the fact that they tried – as best they could – to stay in the present and hit one shot at a time. Eight-under is definitely nothing to slouch over, but I think we easily left 10 shots on the golf course today.”
For the second day of the Cougar Classic, Kaur gave the Bears some momentum early on. She had a pair of birdies through her first eight holes, helping the team jump into third place as a team with 11-under. Matte was right behind Kaur, as she shot a third-round 68. She would finish tied for fourth, shooting 7-under 209, an impressive debut to her collegiate career.
Synder started off with a birdie on her first hole and finished the day 3-under 69, making her 6-under for the tournament. Her score left her tied for sixth place with Belsham, who finished with the same score for the day.
Karg finished the tournament with a 2-under round of 70, leaving her in a tie for No. 51.
Baylor was the only team in the field of play that had their four counted scorers under par Tuesday. As a team, the Bears led the field with 184 pars and tied for the third most birdies with 52.
Goble said today was a success and that he’s proud of the team. He expects the Bears to have a very successful year moving forward.
“It was good to see three of our players finish in the top six, on a tough golf course against a really good field of teams that we’re going to see at the end of the year,” Goble said. “To go out there and show them that Baylor’s here again and we’re going to play some good golf this year was really fun.”
Up next, the Bears will play at the Schooner Fall Classic Sept. 26-27 at Belmar Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma. Last season, Baylor won the event by 32 shots.