Women’s Golf crushes the field in the season opener


The Cougars women’s golf team closed the deal on Tuesday, winning the team title in a runaway at the Sam Golden Invitational in Corinth. UH’s -48 total was 13 shots ahead of second-place UNT.

the daily #44 | 9/13/2023 | Archives

Ya Woo! The Cougars blew away the field with a school record 20-under par final round (268), including a pair of 6-under 66s from Ellen Yates and Alexa Saldana. Nicole Abelar posted 67, and Maelynn Kim shot 69.

Houston’s 268 is the fourth-best round in NCAA Women’s Golf history.

1. Ellen Yates696766202
T2. Nicole Abelar677067204
T7. Moa Svedenskiold666872206
T10. Alexa Saldana707266208
T22. Maelynn Kim727169212
T30. Hyeonji Kang (I)736872213

Ellen Yates (-14) won the individual title by two shots in her first-ever college tournament. She did it with spectacular play in the final round (bogey-free 66); over the tournament’s final 27 holes, she was -11. Ellen led the field in par-4 scoring (3.77) and was T-3 in par-3 scoring (2.83). Yates was clutch the entire tournament and did not let much bother her. Her short game was spectacular, which is necessary to lead or be near the lead in par-3 and par-4 scoring.

Last month, Yates rallied from two down with four to play to win the English Amateur Championship in sudden death over former UH player Becca Earl.

At the Sam Golden, Yates was fourth in birdies (17) and made an eagle on the par-4 second hole in the second round. Combined, Yates, Abelar, and Svedenskiold made 50 birdies in 162 holes of competition – that’s over 5.5 per golfer per round.

How big was UH’s team win? Hypothetically, the Cougars could have tossed the pair of 66s on Tuesday, counted the even-par rounds shot by Moa Svedenskiold and (individual) Hyeonji Kang, and still won.

UH dominated the field in par-4 scoring (-16, 13 shots better than second-best UNT) and led par-5 scoring (-31, four better than second-best UTSA). This is the third time in 2023 that UH has broken the team scoring record in a round; they did it twice in this tournament.

The three-round total of 816 is also a school record, 18 shots better than the previous best team tournament score. The Cougars beat three Big 12 teams in the field – TCU, Texas Tech, and BYU.

The best news of all is that Kim and Yates are true freshmen, and Saldana and Svedenskiold are sophomores. This could be the start of something special. The team 4win is the first for Lydia Gumm as head coach.

College Golf Primer. The scoring might look odd if you’re new to college golf. In team strokeplay tournaments, the scoring system is called five-take-four, invented by UH’s legendary golf coach, Dave Williams. In the 1950s and 60s, teams would play matches against one or two other teams, which was inefficient and costly. Williams devised a team scoring format, where you drop the worst of your five scores, allowing fields with a dozen or more teams to compete.

UH had more than five players, though. In most tournaments, teams can bring additional players but must designate a starting five. Other players compete individually, and their scores do not count in the team scoring, even if they shoot a lower round than a teammate. For instance, Hyeonji Kang’s 68 in the second round would have counted if she were a part of the starting five.

Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is proud to be a corporate sponsor as the Official Personal Injury Law Firm for the University of Houston Athletics.

“As a University of Houston alum, I am honored that the University of Houston Athletics chose our firm to be their official and exclusive personal injury law firm,” says Stewart J. Guss, the firm’s founder.