UTA coach Matranga within striking distance at Texas Women's Open
Catherine Matranga’s golf ability has matured beyond her humble amateur beginnings at TCU.
She put that ability on display Thursday in the Texas Women’s Open with a first-round 75 and looked comfortable in the role of professional golfer, something she’s done regularly since her days with the Horned Frogs ended.
You realize it’s not the end of the world and you can just go out there and have fun.
Catherine Matranga of playing golf knowing she has a job to fall back on
Matranga, a Paschal High School graduate, was introduced Tuesday as the assistant golf coach for UT Arlington’s fledgling women’s golf program. Now she sits 26th after the first round at Rolling Hills Country Club, nine shots behind Arkansas’ Christina Lecuyer (66), and only five shots back of Spring’s Shannon Fish (70) in second.
“Obviously, I want to win every time I’m out there, but I think mentally I’ve gotten stronger over time,” Matranga said. “I realize it’s just a game and there’s less pressure since it’s not something I’m doing for a living anymore.
“You realize it’s not the end of the world and you can just go out there and have fun. Not that I had a bad attitude or beat myself up, but I’m just a lot more relaxed now and having fun.”
Playing in the Women’s Open just two days after being hired to coach Stuart Deane’s staff was a natural next step.
We have no place to go but up. Starting a program is amazing, and we already have a couple of players coming in that can help us build quickly.
Matranga on starting the UTA golf program
However, Matranga struggled through the first seven holes, recording bogey on No. 2 before adding three more bogeys at No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7.
However, birdies at Nos. 9 and 10 helped get her back into the round and in position to challenge over the final 36 holes.
“I got off to a pretty solid start before I got to No. 5,” Matranga said. “We kind of got on the clock and I felt a little rushed. The golf course played long, but I gave myself a lot of opportunities on the back.”
Opportunities are what Matranga sees as her new job.
“We have no place to go but up,” she said. “Starting a program is amazing, and we already have a couple of players coming in that can help us build quickly.”
UTA’s women’s team will bring on Allison Wade (Arlington Martin) and Rachel Phillips (McLennan Community College/Plano) in the fall to redshirt before filling out the roster over the next year to start play in September 2017.
For now, Matranga will settle for a chance at chasing the Texas Women’s Open title on top of building a brand for the UTA women’s program.
Texas Women’s Open
Through Saturday, Rolling Hills Country Club, Arlington