FORT MYERS, FL. – The UTEP women’s golf team saved its best for last on day three of the Conference USA Championship Wednesday, shooting 291 to take second place at the 12-team event.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” UTEP coach Jere Pelletier said. “They hung in there and played their hearts out. Our practices over the course of the year paid off. We were shooting to win the conference, but finishing second was a big leap for us.”
The Miners fired a 23-over-par 887 (300-296-291) as UTSA won with a 10-over-par 874 (294-292-288).
“I think we got a little more familiar with the course as the tournament went on, and we were a little more confident,” Pelletier said. “I think some of the nerves wore off and that helped us. If we hadn’t had the one bad backside on the first day, we would’ve been really competitive.”
UTEP junior Lily Downs tied for fifth place with a four-over-par 220 (75-71-74). She joined UTSA’s Julie Houston and Ana Gonzalez, Middle Tennessee’s Hanley Long, WKU’s Georgina Blackman, and North Texas’ Sabina Pena and Lauren Cox on the All-Tournament Team. Houston was the individual champion with a four-under 212 (73-70-69).
The Miners’ June Ting (77-76-71-224), Valeria Mendizabal (74-78-72-224) and Abbie Anghelescu (74-76-74-224) were part of a five-way tie for 17th place. Shannon O’Dwyer finished in 60th place (89-73-89-251).
“Lily had a good tournament,” Pelletier said. “She had a little rough patch today but finished with three birdies in the last four holes and captured a top-five finish, which was wonderful for her. Val, Abby and June played very steady the whole way and that’s what you need. They were really solid and that’s what helped us the most.”
It capped an exceptional season for the Miners, who finished in the top-three at seven of 10 tournaments. With Ting being the squad’s lone senior, hopes are high for 2018-19.
“I’m sorry to see June leave. I hate to lose her,” Pelletier said. “But we’re excited about the future for the Miners.”