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UT's Kuvanun to play in NCAA regional

Pinyada-Kuvanun

Pinyada Kuvanun is just the second Toledo women's golfer to qualify for an NCAA regional tournament.

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For just the second time in history, the University of Toledo women’s golf team will be represented in an NCAA regional tournament.

Junior Pinyada Kuvanun qualified for the regional that starts Monday in Madison, Wis.

“I didn’t expect that I was going to earn this spot,” Kuvanun said. “It’s a very good opportunity to get some experience for me to play at this level and in this kind of event. There are so many good teams, and the distance of the course is a little bit tougher. I’ll just try to be ready and be prepared.”

Playing in the regional will cap off what has been a successful season for Kuvanun, who grew up in Khonkean, Thailand.

Kuvanun set a school record this season with her average of 72.9 strokes and tied the mark for best 18-hole score (67) and best 54-hole score (210).

Kuvanun is the second Rocket to qualify for a regional in the past three years. Sathika Ruenreong qualified for the Shoal Creek regional in 2016.

WATCH: Kuvanun qualifies for NCAA regional

Ruenreong is now a graduate assistant for Toledo, and is trying to use her experience to help Kuvanun prepare for the event.

“She just needs to try to keep the game simple,” Ruenreong said. “Sometimes when you play against a higher level [of talent], then you get too stressed. I feel like you have to keep it basic and try to play your game.”

Kuvanun is the second ranked golfer at the Madison regional that is not on one of the 18 qualifying teams. The top six teams and the top three individuals not associated with those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, Okla.

“I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself,” Kuvanun said. “I will just try to stay on top of my game and not think about other people. This is my first time, so I will just try to finish the best that I can.”

Kuvanun started the spring with her first career tournament win, after a 54-hole score of 220 gave her the title at the Battle at Boulder Creek on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas.

Ruenreong has been impressed with Kuvanun’s play all season and is optimistic she will turn in a good performance.

“She kind of figured out how to play really well for herself,” Ruenreong said. “She started off the season with a win, and she just played solid the whole season. She got her game together and she has practiced very hard, so I’m sure she will do well.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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