SHSU golf having historic season, break match titles record

For the first time in program history, the Sam Houston State University women’s golf team has claimed five match titles this season, three of them coming back-to-back.

“This is the absolute best season the program has had,” assistant coach Thomas Chain said. “Our accumulation total is the lowest it has ever been in the history of the program and every tournament we have one, two or three girls finish in the top ten.”

The Bearkats currently stand second in the Southland Conference with an average score of 300.97, only .97 points behind No. 1 Central Arkansas. The women also hold the lowest round total in the conference with 287 and the most wins with five.

To add to the women’s success, four Bearkats are ranked among the top 15 in the conference with junior Gianti Mahardhika holding the lowest round total with 66 and senior Heather Shake holding the second highest individual win total with two.

Bearkats ranked among the top 15 include freshman Hannah Alberto in third place, Mahardhika in fifth, Shake in sixth and sophomore Jenna Philips in 14.

“It is incredible how these girls have, in such a short period of time, develop a good team, rapport and relationship that has carried over to their golf,” Chain said. “They’ve been able to do that because of their hard work.”

In their last outing, the Bearkats competed at the Intercollegiate in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, which marked the end of the team’s regular season. SHSU took home fifth place in the weather-shortened event.

The Bearkats opened the first round with a five-stroke lead after 18 holes and held a low round of 294, but after two delays due to worsening weather conditions, the Bearkats struggled to get back in their grove and finished with a shot of 319.

On a positive note, Alberto had an individual finish of eight place at six over par while Phillips shot a team low round of 70 in the opening round.

While the Bearkats hold the most match victories in the conference, head coach Brent Kieschnick hopes to improve that record to six at the Southland Conference Championship.

“Winning breeds winning,” Kieschnick said. “Going into the conference championship we know how to win and feel very confident going into it. I feel we will have a really good chance.”

The Bearkats will travel to Montgomery on April 17 to compete in the two-day SLC Championship at Woodforest Golf Club where they hope to pick up their sixth match title and first team title at the championships in 10 years.

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