Cougars’ success sets up course for future
The Houston women’s golf team is looking forward to not only a regional bid, but a legacy of success as they compete in the American Athletic Conference Championships for the first time as a team in their second year as a program.
The No. 48 Cougars finished the AAC Championships in third place this year, 10 strokes behind the winning No. 23 UCF. For the first time there, the Cougars were forced into a balancing act between enjoying the experience and the competition.
“It’s just experience building, and it’s a lot of fun,” said junior Raegan Bremer, who finished sixth individually. “We don’t feel like a brand new team, and we feel that we have a great coach to help us along.”
Head coach Gerrod Chadwell came out happy after last week’s finish, looking at the AAC Championships as more of a stepping stone than a one-time occurrence. Chadwell believes that the showing at the conference level was necessary to continue developing the program nationally.
“I think that it means that it’s finally here, that we’ve finally arrived, and we can make our mark on the conference,” Chadwell said. “To give ourselves a chance was something that we talked about before we got there, and if we can start to do that more, I think we’ll be able to come out ahead more times than from behind.”
The weekend success was capped off by freshman Yuka Kajiki finishing in a tie for third place individually. Kajiki was accompanied in the top-20 by fellow freshman Megan Thothong, who finished in a tie for 17th.
“The thing with the freshmen is they’ve been able to play so much golf that you almost don’t view them as freshmen. I saw it coming,” Chadwell said. “They’re a big part of what we’re doing, and it’s cool to see because it’ll be a big chunk of what’s going to be getting the job done for us in future years.”
The Cougars are still a work in progress, despite the big first-year showing in the AAC Championships. The lone senior on the team, Courtney Ferguson, is looking forward to her remaining time as a Cougar but knows that things can only get better after this season.
“I really don’t think that we have a place that we don’t want to go to,” Ferguson said. “I really think that we can compete anywhere, and it’s an exciting time because it’s the first time. So we’re excited to be going anywhere, and we’ll take whatever comes and play our hearts out.”