NASHVILLE — Regarded as one of the top junior golfers in the nation, Shawn Rennegarbe of Nashville didn't waste much time when it came to choosing a college.
A three-time Class A all-stater, Rennegarbe announced Tuesday that she has given a verbal commitment to attend and play collegiate golf at the University of Arkansas beginning in the 2014-15 season.
A junior at Nashville High School, Rennegarbe said she also considered Wake Forest, North Carolina, Missouri and Illinois, among others but said that Arkansas just seemed like the right place.
"I've been very fortunate that I've been to a lot of places and a lot of nice places, but Arkansas just is the one that seemed right for me,'' Rennegarbe said. "I started my visits last summer, kind of like unofficial visits. When I would go some place to play, if there was a college nearby, I'd go visit it.
"The coaches (head coach) Shauna Estes-Taylor, and (assistant) Mike Adams are not only great coaches but they are also great people and the players on the team were also really nice. I wanted to go someplace where they have a great golf program and also a place where I can get a great education.''
Located in Fayetteville, Arkansas is a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks were second in the SEC behind Auburn and placed 23rd in the NCAA Division I National finals a year ago.
Arkansas is currently ranked 14th in the nation in the latest Golf Week women's NCAA Division I poll.
Rennegarbe has been one of the players in the state the past three years. Ninth in the Class A state tournament as a freshman, Rennegarbe was fourth as a sophomore and placed second this past year. With Rennegarbe leading the way, Nashville has placed third, second and fourth in the team competition.
Rennegarbe also plays a full schedule of regional and national tournaments in the spring and summer. She also spends time working with PGA Teaching Professsional Don Hawkins at Stonewolf Golf Course in Fairview Heights.
Rennegarbe's decision may come as a surprise to some. Just a junior, Rennegarbe will be the pre-season favorite to win the Class A State Tournament next fall as a senior. But Arkansas just seemed right.
"A lot of the bigger schools are pushing for early verbals, but it wasn't like there was any pressure for me to make a decision. Arkansas just felt right,'' Rennegarbe said. "They have a great golf program and just a great group of people on the team that I'm enjoying getting to know.
"Arkansas is a place where I can grow as a player and as a person. Hopefully I can go down and help them win a national championship.''
Rennegarbe will also have the opportunity to work with former Arkansas player Stacy Lewis. The 2012 LPGA Rolex Player of the Year, Lewis is a volunteer coach at Arkansas when time permits. Lewis was a four-time All-American and won the 2007 NCAA Championship while at Arkansas.
One of the longest off the tee players in the state, Rennegarbe doesn't see any problem with the added distances of college tournaments. But she knows she must continue to improve in order to reach her golfing goals.
"I know there is a lot of room for growth as a player and I've been working on my short game, chipping and putting,'' Rennegarbe said. "A lot of it is based upon potential and I'm going to continue to work hard. I have a lot of goals.''
Rennegarbe said she plans on majoring in engineering at Arkansas.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org