UNC women's golf finishes 11th at Mason Rudolph Championship

The North Carolina women’s golf team finished 11th out of 15 teams at nine-over par at the Mason Rudolph Championship this past weekend, which ran from Sep. 15 to 17 in Franklin, Tenn. 

What happened?

The Tar Heels started slow and were never able to recover, as they finished round one on Friday in 13th place. First-year Ava Bergner led the way in the opening round, shooting a two-under-par 70.

Bergner kept her hot start going throughout the weekend, shooting an even-par 72 in round two and a two-under-par 70 in the third and final round. She finished the weekend four shots under par, tied for 18th.Sophomore Brynn Walker finished the tournament second for the Tar Heels, hitting three over par, good for 44th place. 

North Carolina only had one golfer finish in the top 20 and under par — Bergner. Every player except for Bergner and Walker finished six over par or higher. 

“We had plenty of birdie opportunities, but the putts just didn’t drop,” head coach Jan Mann said. “I think with a couple of days of the putts not dropping, particularly today, we saw some tentative strokes and a lot of anticipation as to whether they were going in or not. That’s an area where I think we can build on and get stronger at.”

Who stood out?

Bergner led the Tar Heels for the second-straight tournament. In six total rounds, Bergner has three under-par rounds, two even-par rounds and a 72.00 stroke average. That's the best start for a Tar Heel first-year since Casey Grice, who had three under-par rounds, an even-par round and 71.83 stroke average through her first two tournaments in 2010.

“I’m very excited for (Bergner), just how she handled herself,” Mann said. “Not only in this tournament, but the last tournament — pretty impressive for a freshman.” 

This is not only Bergner’s first year playing collegiate golf, but it is also her first year living in the United States. Through only two tournaments, the first-year from Germany has already emerged as a leader for the team. 

“She plays with a lot of confidence,” Mann said. “I think doing so well starting out, she will just build on that and become more and more confident as she competes.” 

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels started the tournament slow, as they finished the opening day in 13th place, hitting a six-over-par 294. Even with Bergner’s impressive showing, North Carolina only had one other golfer finish in the top 50.

After getting off to a sluggish start with a lack of stand-out performances, the Tar Heels found themselves in a hole they couldn’t come out of.

Why does it matter?

North Carolina finished tied for fifth at the Ocean Course Invitational less than two weeks ago but couldn’t compete at the same level against tougher competition. 

The Mason Rudolph Championship featured 10 teams, including the Tar Heels, that participated in the NCAA postseason a year ago. The tournament also consisted of seven teams that advanced to the 2017 NCAA Women’s National Championship.

“I was disappointed in our finish, and I feel like we can compete with any of those teams,” Mann said.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will hit the course next from Oct. 13 to 15 at home in the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational.

@pupadhyaya_

sports@dailytarheel.com

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