The Texas Tech women’s golf team had never earned an all-America honor before last week’s NCAA championships.
That didn’t stop the Lady Raiders, who came home Saturday with not one, but two all-Americans to wrap up the 2012 season.
Juniors Kim Kaufman and Gabby Dominguez both finished the tournament Friday at the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Tenn., with identical scores of 3-over 291 to finish tied for eighth place and earn honorable mention all-America status.
“I think it exceeded our expectations a little bit,” Kaufman said, “to finish top 10 in our first trip there. Not that we didn’t believe we could do it, but in the first trip, there are a lot of nerves, and it’s the best field there is.”
Those nerves played a big factor on the first day for Tech’s golfers.
Kaufman bogeyed three of her first six holes on the front nine but rallied with six birdies on the next nine holes. She finished the first day with a 2-under 70.
Dominguez opened the tournament with a 3-over 75 to put her in a tie for 47th place.
“We kept telling (Dominguez) just be patient, your time is going to come,” Tech coach JoJo Robertson said. “It doesn’t matter if you shoot 75 at the beginning or the middle. Each day she lessened her mistakes and that final round she was just so solid.”
Dominguez followed the 75 with a 74, 73 and a 3-under 69 on Friday to rally from as far back as 59th place.
Kaufman said she and Dominguez are incredibly competitive with one another in a way that benefits both.
“We want to beat each other, but I think that’s OK,” Kaufman said, “you need that sometimes. It pushes us, for sure.”
Texas Tech was the only Big 12 team to earn two all-America honors. There were 12 first-team honorees, 12 second-team honorees and 12 honorable mentions.
Oklahoma’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil finished atop the leaderboard with a 6-under 282.
Kaufman and Dominguez were ranked 51st and 54th, respectively, entering the tournament.
“We knew they were capable of this kind of play all year long,” Robertson said. “It’s just unbelievable that they competed with the players that were there as well as they did.”
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