March 11, 2009–Las Vegas' Bethany Glassford, a freshman on the UNLV Women's golf team, finally had a solid individual round during the UNLV Spring Invitational played at 'Las Vegas' golf course Boulder Creek Golf Club. Her third-round 73 followed rounds of 82-81, and helped her team win the event for the second time. How did she do it? By trying not to think about herself during a round that included 5-straight one putts on holes 12-16, culminated by an 8-foot birdie putt that helped the Rebels claw back from a four-stroke deficit with just a few precious holes to play. UNLV defeated Texas Tech by two strokes.
"Before every shot, I said to myself, 'This shot is for the team', and it really helped me a lot today," said Glassford, who played high school golf at Las Vegas' Coronado High School. "I did my pre-shot routine normally, but then I added that one thought just before I made my swing." Glassford lettered three years for Coronado and helped her team win the NIAA Sunrise Regional Championship as a sophomore. She was named her team's MVP the last three years of her prep career and she finished second in the state as a junior and senior. She also earned all-state honors as a senior.
UNLV Head Coach Missy Ringler credited both of her freshmen–Kristen Schelling fired a 2-over par 74 in her final round–for the victory and a result that could jump start the Rebels spring season. "The key was our freshmen," said Ringler in front of the Boulder Creek Golf Club clubhouse following the round." … They are seasoned players who have played on the national junior tours, and they know what it takes to win."
The Rebels trailed by four strokes with three holes to play, but made a charge to earn the team's first win since 2006. Glassford made her birdie on 16 while Therese Koelbaek, last season's Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, birdied three of her final five holes. Schelling birdied two of the final three holes and Natasha Krishna battled for the lead the entire day but fell into a tie for 4th place after a bogey on the 18th hole. But she started out with three birdies on the first four holes of the back nine and fired a 2-under par 34 on the backside. "I wasn't thinking about my game at all; it was all about the team today," said Krishna, a junior, who fired a 2-under par total of 70. "It would have been a bonus to win the individual title, but it was all about the team today."
Lance Ringler, a veteran Golfweek Magazine writer and husband of UNLV coach Missy Ringler, was impressed by the ending of the tournament. "I have been covering college golf for about 18 years, and I don't know if I remember a more exciting finish," said Ringler, who is the host of the Off Campus on GolfweekTV.com. "Usually one team is out front but this is about as exciting as it gets for a stroke play tournament."
In other tournament news, Kelly Hester, the first UNLV Women's golf coach in the history of the program, returned to Las Vegas as the head coach of the University of Georgia and collected some hardware. Two of her players, Marta Silva and Mallory Hetzel, tied for medalist honors. The co-championship for Hetzel was extra special because her uncle recently passed away. Hester was the coach at the University of Arkansas but recently took over for Georgia, returning to her home state.
Glassford and Ringler both gave two thumbs up to the Boulder Creek golf course and staff. Ringler said that she was very appreciative that the course allows her to host two events each year over the holes of Boulder Creek while Glassford always enjoys playing any of the 27 holes. "I like the course a lot because it's a good challenge," said Glassford. "You have to hit a lot of different shots during a round, and you have to play it very strategically. It can be a challenge but at the same time you can post a good score on it." Boulder Creek Golf Club is a public golf course and both local and visiting Las Vegas golfers are welcome.