It’s quite likely in 2023, Zoe Slaughter never thought she would be a trailblazer.

But that is certainly what Slaughter became in 2021 when she decided to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal to leave the University of Houston women’s golf program for Texas A&M. Slaughter made history as the first African-American player on the Aggies women’s team.

“I first heard that a year ago when I first came here,” said Slaughter, a former standout at Memorial Senior High School. “It was shocking to me, but it was just great to leave that legacy here because it’s never been done before. So, to have people know that they can come in, no matter what your skin color is, and believe in yourself and do great. I’m just happy to be able to leave a legacy.”

In the process, Slaughter is blazing a trail that will leave her name etched in the Aggies’ history for years to come. The junior earned her first collegiate win at the ICON Invitational in February, and then last month her putt on the 21st hole – the third playoff hole – delivered Texas A&M the SEC Championship in dramatic fashion, giving the Aggies one of their biggest moments ever.

Slaughter knew what was at stake and what she knew she needed to do. And she came through; her mother, Kafi Slaughter, aunt and teammates all holding their collective breaths in support from the gallery. And as soon as the putt dropped, they all went wild as Slaughter pulled out a big one for the Aggies over Mississippi State.

Slaughter’s teammates came swarming around her.

“We talked about winning going in, so, to actually do it, I was just telling them, `Guys, we did it. We actually did it,’” Slaughter said. “It was just the best feeling having them run over to me and know that they can count on me in that situation.”

The clutch putt set the stage for the Aggies to earn the No.1 seed in this week’s NCAA Regional at TPC San Antonio. A top-five finish will guarantee Texas A&M’s spot in NCAA Championships later this month.

Opportunities like this are what led Slaughter to follow head coach Gerrod Chadwell when he left UH to take the job at A&M. Slaughter talks glowingly about her freshman season at UH – which was her only campaign with the Cougars – but she knew to get to where she ultimately wants to be, which is the LPGA Tour, she needed to move on.

“I went to Houston and I had a great time there,” said Slaughter, a psychology major. “I just needed something a little different, so I transferred to A&M and it’s been great ever since.”

The game of golf has put Slaughter on what she describes as an incredible journey.

Slaughter first picked up a club when she was eight or nine years old while spending time with her father, Rich Slaughter, and grandfather, Jake Carter. Her granddad was the captain of the golf team at Prairie View. And like him, Slaughter’s dad was a golf enthusiast, too.

She started out on the putting green while they played; long before she started playing competitively. For a while, Slaughter played golf, along with volleyball and running track. But it wasn’t long before she realized which sport she might have a future in.

“I was just going out there for fun and they kept telling me that I was pretty good at it,” Slaughter said. “So, I was like I’m going to keep doing it and see where it takes me. Now we are here.”


School: Texas A&M

Year: Junior

Major: Psychology

High School: Memorial Senior High School

Post-Collegiate Plans: Q-School, Epson Tour, and LPGA

Golf Role Models: Stacy Lewis, Brook Henderson, and Tiger Woods: “I just like their grit and their fight and everything. They never back down. That’s just something I really admire and I look up to.”

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Terrance HarrisPro | College Sports Editor

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....