A mixture of phenomenal freshmen and savvy veterans has the Texas women’s golf team poised for another run at an NCAA Championship berth in the spring.
But first, head coach Ryan Murphy wants to end the fall semester on a high note at this weekend’s power-packed Stanford Invitational in California, where the top-ranked Cardinal will play host to several ranked squads, including the No. 5 Longhorns.
“I’m happy with what we’ve done so far this semester, and hopefully we can have a good one at Stanford,” said Murphy, who’s served as the women’s head coach since 2014. “We have some depth on our team, and we’ve had some great performances.”
Those performances start with a pair of freshmen in Farah O’Keefe and Lauren Kim, who have emerged as anchors of a deep roster. Along with Westlake graduate and senior Bentley Cotton, O’Keefe and Kim have competed in all three of the fall tournaments so far. Selina Liao, Cindy Hsu and Bohyun Park have also filled a spot in the lineup this fall.
O’Keefe’s quick emergence won’t surprise local golf fans. The Anderson graduate won an individual state championship with the Trojans while leading them to a Class 5A team title in 2022, and she hasn’t slowed down since joining the Longhorns.
O’Keefe opened her collegiate career with a pair of top-five finishes and was recently named the Big 12 women’s golfer of the month. She showed her poise during a runner-up finish at the Windy City Classic in Chicago earlier this month, when she tied Texas’ individual 18-hole scoring record with an 8-under-par 64 in the first round. O’Keefe’s final score of 9-under 207 was the seventh-best 54-hole score in program history.
Murphy, who served as an assistant for the UT men’s team during current PGA star Jordan Spieth’s time with the program, credited O’Keefe for having a similar mental toughness.
“It does remind me of Jordan a little bit. It’s next level, for sure,” Murphy said. “That head on her shoulders is way past her age, I would say. And that’s a testament to her parents. I would say they’ve taught her some really great things. Her disposition on the golf course is right where you want it. She’s studied optimal performance states.”
And how about her game?
“Well, she’s got nice power, and she’s got tremendous hands on and around the greens,” Murphy said.
At last week’s Jackson T. Stephens Cup at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Kim stepped into the…