Bertine Strauss

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

A lot of kids dream of making the pros and getting paid to do what they love. 

For most, it’s just that — a dream. But for the eight Texas women’s golf team members, this dream of making the big leagues and playing in the LPGA Tour is close to reality.

“All have the ability to make the LPGA,” head coach Ryan Murphy said. “It’s just a question of if that’s what you want to do with your life.”  

Murphy’s statement is twofold: it’s an endorsement of his players’ abilities and also a recognition of the difficulties of earning and keeping an LPGA Tour card.

There are three qualifying stages to earning the tour card. About 300 women begin the process with Stage I of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. The top 100 players and ties from the first stage move onto the second tournament. From the second, the top 80 and ties advance to the third and final stage, which is a 90-hole tournament over five days, after which the top 20 finishers receive
LPGA memberships.

“Love and passion for the game is necessary to be a professional,” Murphy said. “I have inherited a group of young women who work hard and are capable.” 

Last weekend at the Ping/ASU Invitational, junior Tezira Abe posted two season-low rounds of 70 (-2). At that same tournament, senior Bertine Strauss tied for first place with a three-round score of 210 (-6). 

A few weeks earlier at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic, sophomore Julia Beck had her best finish — a tie for ninth. All three hope to parlay this recent success into professional careers.

“My goal is to play on the LPGA Tour and contend for major championships,” Beck said. 

Her experience as a Longhorn has offered her the opportunity to play against the best and understand how she can improve on the course, specifically with her driver in her attempts to hit the ball longer and shorten the course.

As for Abe, advice from Murphy has encouraged her to be more prepared.

“Coach said that I should be first to arrive to practice and last to leave from practice,” said Abe. 

In addition to putting in the practice time and working hard, Abe said she has been able to learn from Kate Golden, 18-year LPGA veteran and associate head coach. 

Murphy, a first-time Division I head coach, believes Texas won’t be the end of the line for Strauss.

“You’ll see Bertine on television soon,” Murphy said. “It’s been her dream for some time.”

These players all have aspirations of becoming the next member of the tour, but each at her own pace. 

As a senior, Strauss hopes to finish this season, graduate and pursue the tour this fall. Abe will graduate in December, play through her college eligibility and then move to achieve LPGA membership. As for Beck, she will make the journey to the tour once her game reaches a point where she believes she can contend among the best.

These players know their dreams are close. It’s just a matter of realizing it.

Senior Bertine Strauss found a home away from home with Texas golf. The characteristics she has gained from being far from home have helped her anchor the team for four years.
Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

For senior women’s golfer Bertine Strauss, the 9,000-mile plane ride home to Koster, South Africa, takes almost a full day. But the experiences she has gained from being so far from from home have only helped her lead Texas through the past three seasons.

“Being so far away from home forces you to be independent, go out of your comfort zone and try new things,” Strauss said.

Strauss takes all of these lessons to heart — and to the golf course, where she has continued to push herself to new heights and anchor the team. So far this season, Strauss has achieved a career-low 66 (-6) at the Schooner Fall Classic, where she also set a school record for the lowest three-round total, a 3-under 207.

In addition to playing well as an individual, Strauss has set the tone for the team this season. Of the seven tournaments the Longhorns have competed in, Strauss has been the low player five times. Off the course, she has been a leader in the clubhouse.

“This year, I’ve been leading by example,” Strauss said. “There are no freshmen on the team this year, so everyone is taken care of, and there’s no disruption.”

Despite her accomplishments this season, Strauss still thinks she can get better.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Strauss said. “In golf, you play against yourself and the course, and there’s always room for improvement.” 

Her improvement over her four years here at the University is easy to see. She has set new career lows every season while earning numerous accolades.

Strauss was named a 2014 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar and was on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team in both 2013 and 2014.

But these accomplishments are nothing in comparison to the valuable lessons and experiences she has learned while being away from home.

“It’s a luxury to be able to go home,” Strauss said. “I appreciate what UT has given me. It’s easy to see how well the University treats its athletes, and I’m thankful, especially considering what it’s like back in South Africa.”

The independence and motivation Strauss gained from her worldly perspective have also encouraged her to pursue other goals after she graduates in May. Come August, she plans on attempting to make the LPGA tour.

Before then, however, Strauss looks to finish the season strong. The Longhorns’ next tournament is the Texas-Hawaii Classic on March 21 at the Kapalua G. C. Bay Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.

“I’m definitely looking forward to Hawaii,” Strauss said. “Especially after last week, when I came in strong and was in contention the entire tournament.”

The women’s golf team continued to have a strong showing at the SDSU Farms Invitational through Tuesday’s second round. Falling just two spots from Monday, the Longhorns finished the day in eighth place out of the 17 teams in contention. 

Once again, junior star Bertine Strauss (75-70) was a standout for the Longhorns, firing a team-best 2-under par in the second round.  Strauss climbed up the individual leaderboard 13 spots to a 12th-place tie. A par-birdie-par finish resulted in Strauss’ third under-par round of the season.

Sophomore Natalie Karcher (74-74) carded her second 74 of the tournament to finish the round tied for 23rd place. Freshmen Julia Beck (155), Anne Hakula (156) and Lara Weinstein (157) are tied for 48th, 52nd and 54th, respectively.

The Longhorns tee off the final round Wednesday morning in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

The Texas women’s golf team completed its season-opening tournament Tuesday at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in impressive fashion. Finishing in 11th place overall, the team came back from a tough first day to end with a team total of 25-over-par, 23 strokes better than its opening-round finish.

Leading the team was junior Bertine Strauss, who was the Longhorns’ low-finisher at +6 (73-74-72), placing her in 15th place on the individual leaderboard. Not far behind Strauss was freshman enrollee Lara Weinstein, finishing just six strokes behind Strauss to tie for 35th place in her collegiate debut.

Sophomores Tezira Abe (77-75-78) and Natalie Karcher (80-73-77) tied for 60th at +17, while freshman Julia Beck (84-83-74) rounded out in 85th place.

The tournament was stacked with many of the nations premier championship teams. Top-ranked Southern California (288-279-299=866) swept the team and individual titles. 

Sunday marks the 40th annual Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, a special event for the women’s golf team. The tournament is the Longhorns’ only home event of the season, other than the Big 12 Championship, and is an elite national event that honors a long-time contributor and special member of the program: former Longhorn Betsy Rawls.  

Rawls has been an icon in women’s golf since the beginning of her professional career in 1951, one year after the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour began. After an impressive tenure at UT, where she studied math and physics, Rawls won four U.S. Women’s Open titles and 55 LPGA Tour events. 

“It’s an honor to play for Texas and to follow in the footsteps of someone who [is] as great as she is,” sophomore Bertine Strauss said. “It makes you want to play a little bit harder to represent the school and everything it stands for.”

Rawls and the other women golfers of her time made waves in the founding era of the LPGA Tour. 

Rawls racked up 10 tour victories in 1959 alone, and earned a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated in August 1964. Once she retired in 1975, she assumed the position of tournament director for the LPGA, and used her star power to advance the visibility of the sport. 

In 1981 she became executive director of the McDonald’s Championship, and continued to work in golf and play on a regular basis. In 1983, she was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1987.  

The invitational began at Texas in 1974 when former women’s golf head coach Pat Weis created what was originally known as the Texas Invitational. The event was renamed in honor of Rawls in 1977, following the golf legend’s retirement from professional events. 

Every year the invitational is held at the UT Golf Club, and the Longhorns have won the overall team event seven times. This year, a youthful group of players look to win number eight. 

“A lot of good teams are playing, but we have to think about winning,” Strauss said. “There is no reason to start playing if you want to come in second.”

The team is excited about the on-campus tournament.

“It will help the two freshmen starting this weekend feel a little more at home,” Strauss said. “We’ll have a good advantage.” 

Other than bringing home a win this weekend, the team hopes to honor Rawls, a pioneer for the sport with a heavy influence on the Texas program.

“It’s an honor to play for Texas and to follow in the footsteps of someone who [is] as great as she is,” Strauss said. “It makes you want to play a little bit harder to represent the school and everything it stands for.”

Sophomore Bertine Strauss tied for seventh place to lead the No. 23 Longhorns to a sixth-place tie at 72-over 936 in the Big 12 Championship hosted by Iowa State.

Drastic weather changes plagued the weekend, as the Longhorns (327-297-312=936) were unable to find consistent play. In the opening round, the Longhorns battled winds in excess of 30 mph and cold conditions to post a 39-over-par 327 on Friday. 

Saturday brought clear skies as the average score for the day dropped 7.66 strokes from the previous round. 

In the final round Sunday, sunny conditions with winds over 20 mph dominated. Strauss (80-69-78) carded consecutive birdies at the 10th and 11th holes but bogeyed five times and double bogeyed once to end the tournament. Senior Desiree Dubreuil (81-76-79) was the closest Longhorn behind Strauss with a tie for 22nd.

No. 16 Oklahoma State (317-289-299) took the lead in the last three holes to capture its eighth Big 12 Championship with a score of 41-over 905. Lauren Taylor of Baylor claimed the Big 12 Individual Title at 1-under 213.

Sophomore Bertine Strauss’ 2-under 70 in the final round of the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate aided in a fourth place finish for the No. 25 ranked Longhorns. Texas (299-310-290 = 899) ended the tournament Sunday at 35-over-par.

Strauss’ constant play through 54 holes kept the Longhorns inside the top seven for all three rounds. Strauss (73-76-70 = 219) entered the final round tied in 16th place. She started Sunday’s round at the sixth hole which she birded. Her only score over par came at the eighth. As her round continued, she carded birdies at holes 10 and 12. Strauss finished the tournament fifth on the individual leaderboard at 3-over-par.

The remaining four team members carded consistent rounds as the team scored 2-over-par in the final round — tied for the lowest round carded by a team on Sunday. Senior Katelyn Sepmoree (74-77-73 = 224) finished the tournament at 8-over-par tied 15th. Two strokes behind Sepmoree was senior Haley Stephens (73-81-72 = 226). She shot an even par round to card a tournament total of 10-over-par. Senior Desiree Dubreuil (79-76-75 = 230) carded a 14-over tournament total to finish tied 34th. Freshman Natalie Karcher (84-82-76 = 242) rounded out the team tied 69th at 26-over-par. Freshman Tezira Abe (79-74-75 = 228) participated in the tournament as an individual and finished tied 28th on the player leaderboard at 12-over par.

Sixteenth ranked Purdue battled 9th ranked Vanderbilt for the team title throughout the final round. The Boilermakers (295-291-290 = 876) won the tournament at 12-over-par, one stroke ahead of the Commodores (290-293-294 = 877). The Fighting Irish (303-290-295 = 888) placed third at 24-over-par — 11 strokes over the Longhorns. Notre Dame’s Ashley Armstrong won the player championship at one stroke under par.

Two top-15 finishes by senior Desiree Dubreuil and sophomore Bertine Strauss lands the Longhorn women’s golf team a ninth-place finish in the final round of the rain-shortened Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate golf tournament. The Longhorns (294-301) ended the tournament at 19-over-par.

Despite sustained winds over 15 mph, Dubreuil (69-74) ended the tournament as the lone Longhorn under par. Her score total of 1-under-par gave her a season-best fifth-place finish on the players’ leaderboard. Dubreuil’s final round started at the seventh hole, which she bogeyed. She went on to bogey holes 11, 13 and 1 before sinking three consecutive birdies on holes 2 through 4. Dubreuil ended the day with a bogey on her last hole at the par-5 sixth. Strauss finished her final round tied for 13th with a 2-over 146 as her scorecard consisted of three bogeys and 15 pars.

Senior Katelyn Sepmoree only dropped back one stroke from her first round total to close out the tournament at 6-over 150, tied for 35th place. Fellow senior Madison Pressel finished tied for 70th with a score of 12-over par. Freshman Natalie Karcher made her first appearance in the Texas team lineup and finished tied for 82nd place at 15-over 159.

The end of the tournament included a playoff between rivals USC and UCLA. Both teams finished in the top two of the 2013 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, with UCLA capturing that crown. This time it was the Lady Trojans who captured the team title. Twenty-seventh ranked Division I women’s golfer Hayley Davis of Baylor captured the individual title with a 4-under 140.

Women's Golf

Despite struggling to find their rhythm on the first two days, the Longhorns finished with a strong 290 on the final day of the Stanford Intercollegiate tournament this weekend. Texas finished last out of 17 teams.

Senior Haley Stephens finished as the highest placing Longhorn. Stephens tied for 32nd place, turning in an 8-over-par 221, including an even-par 71 Sunday.

Fellow senior Madison Pressel finished with a 9-over-par 222, placing her tied for 36th place.

The tournament featured nine of the top 25 teams in the country, including the top five teams in the Golfweek rankings.

The Longhorns started out the weekend on the wrong foot with a 27-over-par 311 Friday. Things would not get much better Saturday as the team shot an 18-over-par 302. Texas would finally break under the 300 mark with a 6-over-par 290 Sunday.

Sophomore Bertine Strauss, senior Desiree Dubreuil and freshman Tezira Abe each finished the weekend in the 230’s. Strauss shot a 232, Dubreuil ended with a 233 and Abe shot a 235. The trio finished 74th, 77th, and 80th respectively.

Stephens, Strauss, Dubreuil and Abe helped the Longhorns finish the weekend with a strong round Sunday, each of them shooting their best round in the final round.

The University of Southern California took first place at the tournament, shooting a 5-over-par 857. Kyung Kim of USC finished as the top individual player of the weekend.

The Longhorns will finish out their fall schedule on Oct. 28–30 at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational at The University of Texas Golf Club.

Despite struggling to find their rhythm on the first two days, the Longhorns finished with a strong 290 on the final day of the Stanford Intercollegiate tournament this weekend. Texas finished last out of 17 teams.

Senior Haley Stephens finished as the highest placing Longhorn. Stephens tied for 32nd place, turning in an 8-over-par 221, including an even-par 71 Sunday.

Fellow senior Madison Pressel finished with a 9-over-par 222, placing her tied for 36th place.

The tournament featured nine of the top 25 teams in the country, including the top five teams in the Golfweek rankings.

The Longhorns started out the weekend on the wrong foot with a 27-over-par 311 Friday. Things would not get much better Saturday as the team shot an 18-over-par 302. Texas would finally break under the 300 mark with a 6-over-par 290 Sunday.

Sophomore Bertine Strauss, senior Desiree Dubreuil and freshman Tezira Abe each finished the weekend in the 230’s. Strauss shot a 232, Dubreuil ended with a 233 and Abe shot a 235. The trio finished 74th, 77th, and 80th respectively.

Stephens, Strauss, Dubreuil and Abe helped the Longhorns finish the weekend with a strong round Sunday, each of them shooting their best round in the final round.

The University of Southern California took first place at the tournament, shooting a 5-over-par 857. Kyung Kim of USC finished as the top individual player of the weekend.

The Longhorns will finish out their fall schedule on Oct. 28–30 at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational at The University of Texas Golf Club.