To end its time at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational, the UNC women's golf team gathered right outside the Governor's Club clubhouse in Chapel Hill. This end-of-match tradition is called the “shot of the day” huddle, where each player goes around and names a positive aspect of their day.
In head coach Aimee Neff's third season at the helm of North Carolina, there are plenty of positives for the team to share.
“Each of them has gotten better every year they've been here," Neff said. "Which is something that is a testament [to the fact] that we're focusing on player development as well."
That growth was put on display last week at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational, in which UNC finished in third place on the team’s home ground. Kayla Smith, a graduate student out of Burlington, N.C., finished in a tie for sixth place at 3-under-par 213 and Megan Streicher, a sophomore out of Cape Town, South Africa, finished in ninth place at 2-under.
After a strong showing in this week’s competition, here are two takeaways from the event as the team looks to improve over the rest of the season:
The Tar Heels are reaching new heights
Smith tied a UNC record on day one as the second UNC player to ever shoot a 65 in a par-72 round. She joined former teammate Krista Junkkari, who completed the feat in 2021.
“Once the first birdie rolled in, I just kept making them and kept making them,” Smith said. “Luckily, they were dropping. I was hitting them well and hitting my targets — hitting them pretty close.”
Smith was not the only one performing at a high level in the invitational. After digging herself a "pretty big hole" on day one, Streicher bounced back the next day. The sophomore reached a personal best of 6-under in the third round. The event marked the second ninth-place finish of her career — the highest result she's achieved in college.