KU women’s golf adds four signees
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head women’s golf coach Erin O’Neil announced one of the largest recruiting classes in her 13 seasons at Kansas, as Abby Glynn (Topeka, Kansas/Washburn Rural HS), Lauren Heinlein (Ocala, Florida/Forest HS), Phisitkhwan “Pear” Pooratanaopa (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand/American School of Bangkok) and Kelly Strickland (Alpharetta, Georgia/South Forsyth HS) each signed National Letters of Intent (NLIs) to continue their education and golf careers at the University of Kansas.
“We are really excited to have all four players join us,” O’Neil said. “Each player brings different strengths to the team. They are all wonderful young ladies, hard workers, good students and have lots of ability. That is the most exciting (part of this class), is they each have a ton of potential coming in that we can work with and develop. There’s no doubt in my mind they will come in and push everyone on the team to be their best day in and day out”
Glynn, the 2017 Kansas Class 6A state individual runner-up and 2017 all-league first-team selection, led the Junior Blues to back-to-back state team championships in 2016 and 2017, and won during her freshman season in 2014. The two-time Centennial League Player of the Year (2016 and 2017) and four-time all-league honoree, Glynn won the Centennial League individually as a sophomore in 2015. Glynn also captured the Topeka City Tournament title twice (2016, 2017). As a first-team all-state selection during her junior and senior seasons, Glynn placed in the top-10 at the state championship in three out of four years.
“Abby is a multi-sport athlete, who played quite of bit of soccer, before focusing solely on golf,” O’Neil said. “She has very good distance and her swing has improved tremendously. She is much more consistent and I think if we can get her short game going and her mental game in a better spot, that will be where she can make up some strokes.”
The two-time Ocala Star-Banner Girls’ Golfer of the Year, Heinlein finished 12th individually at the 2017 Florida 3A State Tournament. Heinlein was also a two-time winner of the Marion County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (MCIAC) Tournament (2017 and 2014). The individual co-medalist at the 2017 regional, Heinlein carded a final round 69 to advance to state for her fourth-straight year. During the summer of 2017, Heinlein placed sixth at the Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship in Osprey, Florida, and added another sixth-place performance on the Florida Junior Tour (FJT) at Fairwinds Golf Course in Fort Pierce, Florida. She also posted nine top-10 finishes this year on the Florida State Golf Association’s Junior Tour.
“Lauren is a very steady player who does the small things well and I think it will pay dividends for her in the future,” O’Neil said. “She hits it straight, doesn’t get into a lot of trouble and has a good head on her shoulders. She is also very determined and works extremely hard which are great traits to add to the team.”
Pooratanaopa brings a wealth of international tournament experience to KU. She placed in a tie for second at the four-round TGA-SINGHA Junior Golf Championship Class-A event (71-69-73-69), which included three scores under par and two in the 60s. Because of that performance, Pooratanaopa qualified for the SINGHA Thai Junior Golf World Championship in which she won the four-round event with a 290 (74-75-70-71). Pooratanaopa was the second-lowest amateur and finished third at the 2017 Thai LPGA Toyota Championship (72-70-76), which is a professional event. She also tied for fifth at the 2017 FCG Callaway World Championship (72-70-73).
“Pear has a lot of tournament experience on the international scene,” O’Neil said. “One of her strengths is her long game as she is extremely consistent with her ball striking. Because she hits a lot of greens it allows her to shoot under par easier which will be a nice addition to make to our lineup”
Strickland helped the War Eagles place second at the 2017 Area 3-6A championships and fourth in Class 7A at the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) State Golf Championships with a top-10 individual finish. During the summer prior to her senior season, Strickland tied for seventh at the 2017 Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy Junior Championship and placed third at the 2017 Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event.
“Kelly is a great athlete, has incredible potential, and she is extremely competitive which I like a lot,” O’Neil said. “She has a lot of swing speed and can hit the ball pretty far, but can be a little up and down with scoring. We will need to work on developing consistency in her game however, we are excited to see how she matures as a player during her time at KU.”
All four Jayhawk signees will start on campus academically in fall 2018.
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