Strong winds welcomed women golfers from 11 universities March 7. They started their rounds at the McAllen Country Club as part of the UTRGV Invitational.
The women’s tournament got started on a gusty Monday, with winds recorded at 25 mph and gusts reaching 47 mph at the adjacent McAllen Miller International Airport.
The winds made for a day of high scores for golfers across the field, including UTRGV, which had no golfer shoot scores under 80. The Vaqueros sat in fifth place after day one.
Vaquero Women’s Golf Head Coach Risë Alexander said in a news release after day one that her team is not used to the winds, but will now have the experience.
“They definitely learned a lot today because we typically don’t play in this kind of wind,” said Alexander, the second-year UTRGV coach. “There were a lot of shots that they had to create and now they have a better idea, so when they are faced with this situation again they will know what to do.”
Daniela Mendez led the Vaqueros after 18 holes of action with a score of 80. Four more of her teammates were within four strokes after day one. Geraldine Torrellas and Kelsey Canales finished day one two shots behind Mendez. Emma Mesta’s first round 83 and Shweta Mansingh’s 84 rounded out UTRGV’s top five.
March 8 was the only day where the climate in McAllen cooperated with the golfers in the field. Scores for all golfers were lower and it was Torrellas that led UTRGV in day two. Her second round 73 was nine strokes lower than her score on Monday. Mendez and Mesta’s scores were even after two days and they represented the two next best scores.
As a team UTRGV shot 26 strokes lower on Tuesday than Monday. Despite a dramatic improvement, it actually dropped to sixth place in the tournament.
On March 9, the inclement weather struck again at the country club. A storm with thunder, lightning and hail early
that morning knocked out power and delayed the start of round three by an hour.
Scores in round three were again high across the board. All team scores were in the 300s, and most schools shot higher day three than day one. A few hours after the delayed final round began, a downpour soaked the course. Golfers had to fight low visibility, winds and, now, heavy rain.
UTRGV slid to seventh place, where it finished the tournament.
Their top three in the tournament remained unchanged. Torrellas, Mendez and Mesta all finished tied with each after three eventual rounds of golf. Their three-round scores of 241 were the best on the team and they finished tied for 19th place overall.
Lamar University claimed the team title, edging out second-place finishers Wichita State by three strokes.
Individually, it was Nicole Budnik of Sam Houston State who had the best three-round score of the invitational. She hit a 221 over three days.