As tired as she was, the fourth-year junior shot a school-record 63 during her second round of the Miami Invitational in a performance that included eight birdies and an eagle on hole 18.
Her combined 36-hole score of 129 on the day tied another Miami record and helped set the tone for the Hurricanes who, as a team, would set a school record of their own with a combined 36-hole score of 20-under 556.
A day later, Byrne and the Hurricanes celebrated a pair of titles, both individually and as a team.
All of it left the golfer somewhat amused.
“I think I was so exhausted that I wasn’t able to think. I just got on the course, I saw the ball, and I hit it,” Byrne recalled of her record-breaking day. “Then I went to the next shot and hit it. I went into autopilot. … In the end, I think that really helped me. I couldn’t overthink anything.
“It’s kind of comical how it all worked out.”
Now, as the Hurricanes prepare to kick off their spring season on Sunday at the UCF Challenge, Byrne is determined to not only build on the success she had last year, but make sure the Hurricanes move forward right along with her.
Byrne’s performance in the Hurricane Invitational was just one of several 2023 highlights for the golfer who earned a spot at the NCAA Golf Championships after finishing third at the Palm Beach Regional, posted five top-20 finishes while competing for Miami, won the AIG Irish Women’s Close and, in December, was named the Irish Women’s Amateur of the Year for the second time in her career.
She credits a newfound, more relaxed approach – and working with Miami head coach Janice Olivencia and former Hurricanes assistant coach Marcelo Huarte, who is now the head coach at South Alabama – with helping her dramatically better her game.
“I was at a point where I was stuck in my golf game. I just couldn’t seem to improve and get to the next level, so when they came, I just said to them, ‘I am open to change whatever I need to change. Push me to my limits, tell me when I’m wrong. Call me out on stuff,’” Byrne said. “I was very open to that, to learning from them. I was just open to whatever they had to say. I put my trust in them, and it really paid off. … Coach Janice pushes me every day and that’s exactly what I asked her to do. It’s improved me so much. It helped me mature as a person, mature as a golfer and you can see the improvement it has made in my game.”
Said Olivencia, “I think one of the…