Sooners finish strong, OSU’s Fierro takes second at Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Oklahoma women’s golf team carded a 270, and school-record 18-under-par, to finish the 47th Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational at 8-under par and alone in third place on Sunday. Hannah Screen and Libby Winans paced the Sooners, as the juniors both finished inside the top five.

Oklahoma State did not compete as a team but entered three inviduals. Isabella Fierro had another weekend for the record books, including a bogey-free 66 on Sunday that nearly gave the All-American sophomore back-to-back wins at the Betsy Rawls Invitational.

The Cowgirl standout arrived at the University of Texas Golf Club looking to defend her title from 2019, but fell just one stroke short of Baylor’s Gurleen Kaur, who sealed the win and her own bogey-free 66 with a birdie on No. 17.

The third-place finish at the par-72, 6,331-yard UT Golf Club marks the Sooners’ fourth-straight top-five finish, dating back to last season.

Entering the day, head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell’s team sat in fifth at 10-over-par, but things would quickly change as the Sooners (-8, 856) carded five birdies on their opening five holes. The team’s scorecard would be filled with red on the back nine when Oklahoma collected a field-high 11 birdies to get under-par for the tournament. The Sooners’ third-round score of 270 is the second-lowest in school history, and the 18-under-par is the best mark ever for the Sooners in a single round.

For the first time since the second round of last year’s Westbrook Invitational, four Sooners shot under-par in the same round.

“I’m so proud of our team today,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “We went out there and played to our ability. This should be a huge confidence boost moving forward as we prepare for the tournament at Karsten Creek.”

Hannah Screen (-10, 206) continued to show the impact she can have, as she notched her first top-five finish as a Sooner in just her second event, finishing alone in third. The London, U.K., product’s 13 birdies were tied for the third-most in the field, as she was the only golfer to shoot in the 60s in every round this weekend. She separated herself from teammate Libby Winans on the final hole by collecting an eagle to notch a career-best 10-under, 206.

“I feel like I’m just sticking to my game plan and making sure that I’m comfortable,” Screen said. “Quite often, on a hard course, it’s easy to overthink, but I’m just keeping it simple at the moment and it’s working. Admittedly, it can be frustrating as a golfer to get so close to a win, but I have to trust myself and our coaches, and know that it will happen one day. I know that my teammates and coaches believe I can do it, and they’ll help me get there.”

Libby Winans (-8, 208) showed why she’s considered one of the best golfers in the Big 12, carding a tournament-low 64 on Sunday to finish tied for fourth. Her 14 birdies were tied for the most among all players in Austin this weekend, and her score of 64 on Sunday matched a career-low and is the second-lowest in OU history. The junior’s third-place finish marked the fourth top-five finish of her Oklahoma career, and first since the Moon Golf Invitational in the spring of 2019.

“I was so pumped to play today, and knew that I had a low round in me after yesterday,” Winans said. “Honestly, I wasn’t hitting the ball to my liking at times today, but still managed to hit a ton of fairways and greens. I just hit it pretty close all day, and made just about all of my birdie opportunities. I’m so pumped to keep getting exposure to great tournaments, and this top five definitely helped boost my confidence.”

Senior Hannah Lee made her season-debut in Austin, firing a 4-under-par 68 on Sunday to finish at 5-over, 221, and in 26th. Her eagle on the fifth hole helped her collect the third round in the 60s of her OU career.

Kaitlin Milligan (+9, 225) finished her tournament with a 2-under, 70, on Sunday morning to grab a share of 30th. The senior from Norman chipped in on her final hole to solidify the 46th under-par round of her collegiate career, fourth-most in program history.

Rounding out the Sooners’ lineup this weekend was sophomore Maria Fernanda Martinez (+10, 226), who tallied a 1-over, 73, in the final round to finish tied for 33rd.

The Sooners now turn their focus to their final fall event, the Cowgirl Invitational, slated to open play at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., on Oct. 22.

For OSU, Fierro carded rounds of 67-71-66 to finish at 12-under 204, and led all players with a 3.80 scoring average on par-4 holes. On the weekend, the sophomore posted 40 pars, 13 birdies and just a single bogey.

In two years and 108 career holes at the Betsy Rawls Invitational, Fierro is 27-under par with 29 birdies and just two bogies. She now owns the first (201) and fourth (204) lowest 54-hole scores in the 47-year history of the event.

Fierro has finished at or under par in 16 of her 27 career rounds at OSU, and her career scoring average of 71.22 is now the best in school history.

Not to be outdone, Cowgirl Rina Tatematsu earned a sixth place finish after rounds of 72-68-71 helped her finish 5-under 211. The freshman posted 14 birdies on the weekend and a 4.42 scoring average on par 5s – both tied for the second-best mark among all players in the field.

Angelica Pfefferkorn finished in a tie for 46th place at 21-over 237.

Oklahoma State will return home to host the Cowgirl Classic on Oct. 22-23 at Karsten Creek. Socially-distanced spectators are welcome at the Cowgirl Classic, and admission is free.

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Ken MacLeod

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