With such a young team, UNLV women’s golf coach Missy Ringler had to remind herself to be patient and not allow herself or her team to get discouraged.
But that’s not always easy, given the success the program has had during its brief six-year existence.
The Rebels have taken their lumps this year. Nothing is worse than finishing last in a tournament, which was the case the last time UNLV teed it up, in the Wildcat Invitational at Tucson, Ariz., last month.
But today offers a chance for redemption as well as an opportunity to start building some momentum for the Mountain West Conference championships next month.
The Rebels will host their Spring Invitational at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City. By the end of the 54-hole event Wednesday, Ringler should have a good idea of where her team stands for the stretch run.
"They know they’re a good team," Ringler said. "They just need to have something positive happen for them."
UNLV is playing two freshmen, Alejandra Guacaneme and Therese Koelbaek, and two sophomores, Melissa Mabanta and Natasha Krishna, as part of its seven-player roster. The Rebels have played well at times, but their youth sometimes gets the best of them.
"We’ve been getting three good scores," she said. "But we seem to be missing that fourth good one."
Ringler said the team’s home event, which has attracted a solid but not star-studded field, is there for the taking.
"We’re familiar with the course," she said. "We’ve played well there. If we can win it, or even finish second or third, it would give us a nice lift."
Defending champion Brigham Young, Indiana, Kansas State, Washington, UC Davis, San Francisco and Oregon are among the top teams in the 18-team field. Play begins at 7:30 a.m. each day, and admission is free.
"I believe this is going to be our breakout tournament," Ringler said. "It’s always disappointing when you don’t play at the level you expect. And our expectations are high, given our early success with the program."
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 387-2913.UNLV SPRING INVITATIONALWHEN: Today through Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. WHERE: Boulder Creek Golf Club, Boulder City (par 72, 6,204 yards) FORMAT: 54 holes, stroke play DEFENDING CHAMPION: Brigham Young TICKETS: Free admission