NASHVILLE Shawn Rennegarbe rewrote the record book during a spectacular high school golf career she enjoyed at Nashville High School.
With the ability to drive the ball further then many of her male counterparts, a short game better then most and the competitive spirit to be the best, Rennegarbe was simply the best Class A player in the metro-east throughout four-years of domination as she earned first team all-state recognition four times and helped lead Nashville to the 2013 state title.
Regarded as one of the top high school girls golf recruits in the Midwest, Rennegarbe was courted by some of the top college programs in the nation before chosing to attend the University of Arkansas where because of injuries she was redshirted by the Razorbacks golf program during the 2014-15 season.
“I had planned to play this year but there were some issues with my back and my (left) wrist and with getting adjusted to everything my first year, it turned out to be a good decision,’’ Rennegarbe said while taking a break from practice on Monday at Stonewolf Golf Club in Fairview Heights. “Right now, I’m just practicing a lot, playing some different courses, working on my game.
“I’m not playing many tournaments and not traveling as much as I have in the past. It’s good to be home with family and friends and relax a little bit.
Rennegarbe does plan to travel to Minnesota later this month to try to qualify for the United States Women’s Amateur Championship, and last week Rennegarbe was the medalist at the Illinois Women’s State Amateur Championship at Illini Country Club in Leland Grove, shooting a 72.
But because of heavy rain that resulted in flooding, the match play portion of the tournamnent was canceled for the first time in the 82-year history of the event
“It was just unfortunate because it would have been great to be able to play the entire tournament. They canceled one day then they changed for the format and they still couldn’t play,’’ Rennegarbe said. “The 72 was good. I didn’t hit the ball very well. But my short game was good and I had a lot of nice putts. It’s nice to know that even on days when I don’t hit it that well that I can still get up and down and still shoot a decent score.’’
Although not allowed to play in matches or tournaments this past season, Rennegarbe was still a member of a Razorbacks team which was ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA Division I poll all season. Arkansas, led by NCAA Division I runner up Gabriella Lopez, ended up ranked eighth in the nation.
“I played when we had qualifying and I played a couple of times during the winter break,’’ Renegarbe said. “But I love Arkansas. My coaches are great and we have a fantastic facility to play and practice at.
“My coaches really know their stuff, which is why I chose to go there, because I knew they could help make me a much better player. I have improved a lot but I know there is so much more room to grow. Just playing and practicing every day with the others on the team has helped me take my game to a new level.’’
What should also help Rennegarbe as she prepares for her season of competition when she returns to Fayetteville in August is that she will hopefully be completely healthy. The injured left wrist, which first occurred two years ago while attempting to hit out of heavy rough, was immobilized for a month earlier this spring and while still fairly weak, should be at or near full strength by the time Arkansas begins its fall slate in early September.
“My short game, chipping, putting, wedges.... have gotten a lot better. My wedges are just awesome right now,’’ Rennegarbe said.
“I changed my putting grip and actually it all came by accident. With all of the technology they have down there I’ve made some changes. Then with my wrist in a cast for month and I could only use my right hand. Actually, I’ve become very good at it.’’
Rennegarbe will return to an Arkansas program that returns everybody from a team that was among the best in the nation all year.
“We’ve got a girl (Lopez) who was the national runner up coming back and we’ve got a couple of players who are playing in the (United States Women’s) Open next week coming back, so I’m excited. We should be strong,’’ Rennegarbe said.
“I love Arkansas. It’s big, but its in the country where there is a lot of open space. I’m not a city person to start with. But school is going well. Everything is good. I’m happy.’’
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.