Women’s golf finishes fourth at conference tournament, denied three-peat

UTSA+fell+short+of+winning+their+third+straight+conference+tournament+title.+Their+fourth+place+finish+at+the+event%2C+however%2C+extended+their+run+of+top+five+finishes+at+the+conference+tournament%2C+something+they%27ve+never+failed+to+accomplish+since+joining+Conference+USA

Caleb Preston

UTSA fell short of winning their third straight conference tournament title. Their fourth place finish at the event, however, extended their run of top five finishes at the conference tournament, something they’ve never failed to accomplish since joining Conference USA

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

The UTSA women’s golf team wrapped up their season this week at the 2021 C-USA Women’s Championship in Dade City, FL. UTSA entered the tournament ranked 49th in the country, and one of only two ranked teams in the tournament, joined by the 33rd ranked North Texas Mean Green. UTSA entered the tournament with the opportunity to claim their third consecutive conference title and also boasted the defending individual tournament champion in Ana Gonzalez, so expectations were high. Unfortunately for the ‘Runners, despite a very solid tournament that didn’t feature any major collapses, there were simply three teams that were better over the course of three rounds, and they finished in fourth place. Individually, the team enjoyed top 10 finishes by Camryn Carreon and Hannah Holzmann and top 20 finishes by Nicole Polvichak and Gonzalez. The one thing UTSA did was the individual champion, something the ‘Runners had benefited from in their two prior conference tournament victories. 

The first round teed off on Monday, April 19, and UTSA put themselves in a hole early. The team carded a seven over par 295, leaving them in a tie for fifth place and 13 strokes behind round one leaders Western Kentucky. Leading the way for the ‘Runners after round one was Camryn Carreon, who found herself in the top five following a one under par 71. Holzmann snuck inside the top 20 with a two over par 74, and one stroke behind her was a pair of Roadrunners in Polvichak and Gonzalez. Katia Mexsen brought up the rear amongst her teammates as she endured a rough first round with a seven over par 79. The individual leaderboard race was tight, with Western Kentucky’s Megan Clarke in the lead at seven under, closely followed by North Texas’ Audrey Tan at six under. 

The second round began that afternoon but wouldn’t be completed until the following day. The ‘Runners made up ground during round two as a two over par 290 closed the gap to round two leader Western Kentucky from 13 strokes down to nine. Carreon remained in the picture for the individual win, sliding down one spot to sixth following an even par 72 in round two. Holzmann shot round two in one over par, moving her into a tie for 15th, where she was joined by Gonzalez, whose even par round two effort sent her shooting up the leaderboard. Polvichak finished round two in a tie for 19th following a one over par effort. Mexsen continued to struggle towards the bottom of the leaderboard, sliding one spot back into a tie for 45th, despite an improvement on her first round with a five over par 77. UTSA gained sole possession of fourth place after round two, sitting at nine over par for the tournament. Individually, Carreon remained a factor in the individual competition sitting six strokes behind clubhouse leader Jana Melichova from Old Dominion. 

UTSA entered the final round on Wednesday in need of some help if they were going to capture their third consecutive conference title. Despite shooting a respectable four over par 292 in the final round, bringing their final score to a 13 over par 877, it wouldn’t be enough. While Western Kentucky, who had held the tournament lead since round one, faltered with an 11 over par final round, and Middle Tennessee also wavered with a seven over par, it wasn’t enough for the ‘Runners to make up any ground on the leaderboard. In their place, however, North Texas took full advantage, carding a five under par 283 to finish the tournament at one under and secure the conference title. Individually, Carreon wrapped up her tournament with a two over par 74, securing a tie for seventh at one over, but leaving her 10 strokes behind individual tournament winner Tan. Holzmann closed her tournament out on a high note, finishing round three with a one under par 71, moving her into a tie for ninth at two over. Polvichak’s even par final round saw her climb the leaderboard up to a tie for 12th at four over. Gonzalez couldn’t mount a strong final charge in round three, and the tournament’s defending individual champion finished the tournament in a tie for 17th at six over. Mexsen never appeared to find a rhythm during the tournament but did card her lowest round of the tournament in round three with a four over par 76. The round helped Mexsen move up three spots into a tie for 42nd at 16 over par. 

Statistically, it’s clear to see where UTSA made up and lost ground. UTSA finished the tournament in first place on par fives, where they were seven under par, three strokes ahead of tournament winners North Texas. That success on the par fives can be heavily attributed to Carreon and Gonzalez, who finished the tournament at four under and three under on the par fives, respectively. UTSA had similar success on the par fours, where they finished at 24 over par, which was good enough for second. It was the par threes, however, that really ended up costing the ‘Runners a shot at the conference title. The team finished ninth out of 11 teams on the par threes at 12 over par, 14 strokes behind tournament champions North Texas. Individually, Holzmann finished fourth in the tournament in the number of pars carded with 39, and Carreon led all players in birdies with 14. 

The team’s fourth-place finish concludes the women’s golf season and ensures that for the first time since the 2014-15 season, UTSA will finish a season without winning a tournament. While the women’s season may be over, UTSA golf isn’t done yet as the men’s team will head to Arkansas for their own conference tournament from Monday, April 26, through Thursday, April 29.