Let them play art

North Texas golfers Lauren Cox, left, and Audrey Tan stand with coach Michael Akers and the Conference USA championship trophy this spring. UNT will participate in the Let Them Play Classic this week.

Lauren Cox and the North Texas women’s golf team are getting one more shot to play after their season appeared to end just a few days ago at the Baton Rouge Regional.

Tournament officials announced to a gathering of players and coaches on May 12 that the event had been canceled after a series of weather delays. Rain had left the course playable but not at what tournament officials deemed a championship level.

The top six seeded teams and the top six individuals who were not members of those teams received automatic bids to the NCAA finals.

UNT, which was seeded 10th in the region and ranked No. 38 nationally, was left out of the field for the NCAA championship.

The Mean Green’s season would have ended then had it not been for Sam Bozoian and Barstool Sports.

Bozoian, a prominent media voice from Barstool better known as Riggs, quickly organized the Let Them Play Classic, a tournament that will include 10 teams and several individuals who thought their seasons had come to an end when the Baton Rouge Regional was canceled.

He announced his plans in a video that mimicked the scene from the Baton Rouge Regional when the event was canceled.

UNT coach Michael Akers and the Mean Green jumped at the opportunity to play in the event that will begin on Thursday in Chandler, Arizona. Golfers will play 36 holes on the opening day of the tournament at Whirlwind Golf Club at Wildhorse Pass — with the first and third rounds to be played on Cattail and the second on Devil Claw.

Seeing the event come together will give Cox a chance to finish her career on a high note. The Orange, Texas, native took advantage of the NCAA granting spring sports athletes an additional season of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic and returned for a second chance at her senior season this spring.

She will play her final event with UNT in the Let Them Play Classic. Audrey Tan, Patricia Sinolungan, Emilie Ricaud, Katie Finley and Shreya Pal will round out UNT’s roster.

Jacksonville State, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Purdue, Tulsa, Houston, Sam Houston State, East Tennessee State and Quinnipiac are the other teams in the field. Individuals from South Alabama, East Carolina and South Dakota State are also in the field.

UNT will wrap up the best season in program history at the event. The Mean Green won the Conference USA tournament title, while Tan won the individual title.

UNT had never won a conference title or had an individual win a conference championship before breaking through this season.

It looked like reaching those milestones would be the last highlight in UNT’s year.

Thanks to Bozoian and Barstool Sports, the Mean Green will get another chance to play this week.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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