Golf

Despite recent result, optimism surrounds Texas golf

SEC transfers bolster lineup

Posted September 16th, 2015

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Story highlights
  • Texas is coming off of a disappointing 10th place finish at the Minnesota Invitational
  • Transfers Mills and Schubert have second-year coach Ryan Murphy feeling optimistic
  • Tennis promotes volunteer assistant Bruce Berque

For the Texas women’s golf team, the lineup has undergone significant turnover.

To open the season, the top five included two SEC transfers — Haley Mills (Kentucky) and Sophia Schubert (Auburn) — as well as freshman Maddie Luitwieler.

Despite finishing 10th out of 12 teams at the Minnesota Invitational this week, second-year coach Ryan Murphy returned home feeling confident about the direction of the program.

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“Last year was a learning curve for me, especially in the beginning,” Murphy said. “There was a lot for me to learn. I knew that going in. I feel like I have a better grasp of what’s needed for our team to be successful and what’s needed for us to recruit successfully. Although we didn’t have the finish we wanted in Minnesota, I’m very confident in my team right now.”

All-American Bertine Strauss is gone, but in her place Murphy acquired a couple of transfers to help out immediately. Mills, who is originally from Tyler, led Kentucky in scoring last season (73.90) and finished in the top-20 in seven of 10 tournaments. Schubert led Auburn in scoring (73.54) and won the Alamo Invitational. She was named to the SEC’s all-freshman team.

“We definitely needed a little more help,” Murphy said. “They’re filling a void for us.”

Mix in Luitwieler, the No. 26-ranked junior, and Julia Beck, who shot a final round 70 to finish tied for 30th with Mills in Minnesota, and it’s not hard to prescribe to Murphy’s idea that his team is better than it showed at Minikahda Club. The Longhorns were 22 strokes out of fifth place and 33 behind champion Purdue. It was a letdown from the season opener, when Texas went on the road and knocked off No. 11 Texas A&M on Sept. 6.

“I think it was indicative of what our team can do,” Murphy said. “We have a lot of talent on our team. In Minnesota, we had three new faces. It takes a moment to get your footing at Texas. They will. They’ll get in the groove and play the golf they’re capable of playing.”

The Longhorns are off until Oct. 4-5 when they’ll participate at Texas State’s Jim West Invitational at Tapatio Springs Golf Course.

Tennis’ Berque promoted: When a job opened on the men’s tennis staff, Michael Center knew immediately what to do. Center promoted Bruce Berque, who served as an unpaid volunteer assistant this past season.

“He did a phenomenal job with the guys,” Center said. “I thought they responded really well to him. When (Ricardo Rubio) got the head position at Denver, I thought it was an easy choice. I couldn’t be more happy to have him on board.”

Previously, Berque was head coach at Michigan from 2005-14 and led the Wolverines to the NCAA tournament in his final nine seasons. Center said he’ll replace Berque with Chris Camillone, a graduate of St. Stephen’s who advanced to the NCAA doubles final in 2013 with David Holiner. Camillone is a law student at Texas.

The Longhorns open the season this weekend. Center will accompany half of the team in Midland at the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational. The rest of the team will be with Berque at the Rice Invitational.

Volleyball hits road: After playing their first eight matches at Gregory Gymnasium, the second-ranked Longhorns are hitting the road and going to Tucson, Ariz.

They’ll open the Wildcat Classic against Savannah State on Friday before facing host and No. 17 Arizona in the evening. Texas will head home Saturday after facing New Mexico State.

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