Rockets golfers rest after successful season
There were 112 days between the start of the spring semester and the end of the University of Toledo women’s golf season.
The Rockets were on the road or in the air for 45 of them.
Nicole Hollingsworth and her suitcase squad visited Florida three times, Arizona once, and South Carolina, where the Rockets found refuge from an extended Midwest winter so they could practice for a weekend.
If not the busiest season in school history, it was definitely the best. Toledo recorded its most tournament victories (four), established a new low stroke average (302.1), and saw sophomore Sathika Ruenreong average 74.5 strokes per round, shattering the previous program mark by 1.16 strokes.
The season culminated two weeks ago in Fisher, Ind., with a runner-up showing in the Mid-American Conference tournament to perennial power Kent State. The Rockets carded a three-day total of 916, finishing 21 shots off the pace set by the 16-time consecutive champion Golden Flashes.
Hollingsworth, in her 11th season, was tabbed the league’s coach of the year.
“A lot of people don’t stay somewhere for this long,” Hollingsworth said. “To have all this stuff happen is pretty good.”
Ruenreong, a sophomore, became the first player in school history to twice be named first-team All-MAC. The Thailand native altered the program’s record book, tying the low mark for a round with 67 and tying the most rounds scored under 80 with 30 (of a possible 32). Her 6-under 210 at the Central District Invitational, where she was fifth, is the lowest 54-hole score ever by a Rocket.
Manisa Isavas, another Thailand native, had a fine season herself, collecting second-team MAC accolades. She was second on the team with a 76.5 average.
Other records set by the Rockets this season — which includes the fall — are the lowest 18-hole score (287) and the lowest 54-hole score (873), both coming at the Central District Invitational in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Hollingsworth had been trying to get her team into the Michigan State-hosted tournament for 10-plus years. Toledo took sixth, finishing directly ahead of Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Indiana.
Next year could be even better. Hollingsworth has signed two acclaimed Thailand players and returns her top four scorers. The only Rocket without eligibility left is senior Kate Hoops.
“People ask me, where do you recruit? Hollingsworth said. “I recruit the world."
MEN FINISH THIRD: The Toledo men’s golf team finished third at the MAC tournament over the weekend in Carmel, Ind. Rocket teammates Otto Black and Nate Gonring tied for sixth at 2-over par 290. Chris Selfridge was eighth at five-over. Selfridge, a junior, was named first team all conference, and his sophomore teammate Black was second team.
Kent State won the event.
UT golfer Sathika Ruenreong, left, and coach Nicole Hollingsworth watch Manisa Isavas practice hitting out of a sand trap at the Toledo Country Club in Toledo, Ohio. The Blade/Lori King