Spread out over a golf course, sometimes the only way for the Newman women’s team to gauge how good or bad their team is doing at a given tournament is by their encounters with coach Don Farquhar.
He has a simple tell.
“If the vanilla wafers are out, it usually means we’re doing pretty well and he’s passing them out to us because we’ve been racking up birdies,” senior Kendall Anderson said. “But if he’s eating Twizzlers like crazy, things probably aren’t going so great.”
Farquhar hasn’t had to go into his Twizzler bags much this season for Newman, ranked No. 13 in NCAA Division II, as it heads to the Heartland Conference tournament on Monday at Horseshoe Bay, Texas.
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The Jets have won four of nine tournaments and have finished in the top three in four others, with their lowest finish coming when they tied for fifth at the Lady Rattler Invitational on Feb. 16 in San Antonio.
“I think we’re finally reaching the point in our program where we’ve got kind of a circle of better players leaving and better recruits coming in,” Farquhar said. “We’re starting to get better players nationally and internationally.”
Farquhar isn’t exaggerating. Of the eight golfers on Newman’s roster, three are from Texas and five are from other countries. One of the Texas golfers, junior Courtney Zietsman, is originally from South Africa.
“To have all these people from all over the world has been a blessing,” Anderson said. “And the way we’ve come together ... we feel like the end of the season could be special for us.”
The Jets have been led by Anderson, a senior from Houston; freshman Julie Bernard, from Belgium; and Zietsman. Freshman Emily Aird, from Scotland, and junior-college transfer Josie Jenkins, from Seminole State (Okla.) via England, have helped round out the top five.
Anderson and Zietsman have finished in the top 10 at five tournaments each, including medalist honors for Anderson at the Texoma Invitational on March 9 and a second-place finish at the Arkansas-Fort Smith Invitational on March 22.
Zietsman took first at the Dallas Baptist Invitational on March 30 and was Newman’s top finisher at the West Regional preview in Rohnert Park, Calif., on April, 6, finishing eighth. Newman finished third as a team, behind No. 6 Barry and No. 21 West Texas A&M.
“I feel like those top three (golfers) have really played the best this year, but Emily and Josie have really started to come on strong,” Farquhar said. “We have so much invested in all the girls on our team and they have a lot invested in each other. It’s produced some great results for us.”
The Heartland Conference tournament doesn’t have an impact on the Western Super Regional on May 3 in Sonoma, Calif., where the Jets can qualify for the national tournament with a top-three finish, but ranked conference foes in No. 7 Dallas Baptist and No. 9 St. Edward’s up the stakes.
“We’ve built up the program to this point, with a lot of upperclassmen, and (Farquhar) has just kept recruiting better and better players,” said Anderson, who will be in the Master’s sports management program at the University of Texas next year. “I think we’re all ready for what’s coming up and to see how far we can take this.”
And Farquhar doesn’t plan on going into his bag of Twizzlers.
“I hope I don’t even have to eat one,” he said.