Women’s golf wins back-to-back titles with dominant performance
Houston won its second-straight American Athletic Conference title and third in four years after senior heroics and a large second-round lead allowed the team to dominate the championship.
UH went into the weekend ranked No. 34 in the country by Golfstat while senior Leonie Harm, the eventual individual champion, ranked No. 10 before the tournament.
Harm led the way for Houston in the first round of play Sunday and scored 69 to finish the day off as the individual leader.
Freshman Maria Jose Martinez finished the day tied for second after she scored 70. Martinez birdied four times in her first AAC Championship on the 6,246-yard course.
The team as a whole ended the day on a high note and took first place with a mark of 287, which is a program record in the first round, and a seven-stroke lead ahead of UCF. Houston was also the only competitor to break par on the 72-par course.
Redshirt senior Maddy Rayner was the star of the show for Houston in the second round after she scored a career-best 68, a team low for the day.
Harm finished on-par in the second round and retained share of her first-place spot heading into the final round. She fell a few spots after three bogeys in the first seven holes but began her rally with a birdie in the ninth and two more on the No. 17 and 18 holes to get back on top.
Overall, Houston extended its lead over the field to 20 strokes after it again was the only team to break par on the course with a score of 284.
Tuesday saw Harm overcome her woes after a tournament-best score of 67 granted her sole possession of first place and the individual championship.
Rayner tied for third after a two-under final round for a total of 212, while freshman Hannah Screen and Martinez finished tied for sixth at 216. Junior Amanda Elich tied for No. 23 with 225. The Cougars were the only team to have all five players finish in the top 25 of the competition.
The Cougars finished 13-under par over three rounds and 8-under on the day. Houston ended the tournament with a 30-stroke lead over Central Florida, the largest margin of victory in the history of the AAC.
With the win, UH punched its ticket to the NCAA Regional competitions being held May 6-8. The Cougars will learn their official fate during the NCAA Women’s Golf Selection Show on April 24.