Nearly 4,000 miles from home, Mayka Hoogeboom earns first huge international tournament win

Brady Hamilton, Reporter

Mayka Hoogeboom played the best golf of her American career at her team’s season-opening tournament.

The senior earned her first collegiate victory at the Dick McGuire Invitational Monday and Tuesday, finishing with an 8-under 208.

“I was just very proud of myself,” Hoogeboom said. “I was just very happy. I won a couple of national tournaments in my home country – I’m from the Netherlands – but this is my first international win.”

Her coach Casey VanDamme was “very proud of her.”

“It opened up a whole new set of expectations for her,” VanDamme said. “We’ll see how she handles those expectations. I knew she had the ability to do that but wasn’t sure that she would necessarily do that as quickly during the season.”

The Kent State women’s golf team, the reigning Mid-American Conference champions, tied for third with New Mexico in the tournament, carding a 2-over 866. Ohio State finished first in the tournament with an 11-under 853. Southern Methodist University was second. Other competitors were Iowa State, Kansas and Northwestern.

KSU sophomore Jennifer Gu finished tied for 17th and senior Noramol Nuchsila tied for 35th overall in the tournament.

This season, freshmen Leon Takagi and Blanca Yague-Cuadros replace Emily Price and Chloe Salort. Individually, the pair finished second and third, respectively, in the MAC championships. Price was last season’s MAC women’s golfer of the year.

“It was a good start,” VanDamme said. “We obviously had two freshmen playing, so I didn’t know what to expect. We lost our two best players from last year and had some people really step up their games.”

Before the tournament even began, the veteran stepped in a hole during the practice round, hurting her ankle.

“She hurt her ankle in the practice round and stepped in a hole,” VanDamme said. “So I’m really proud of the way she played and the way she dealt with adversity on the golf course. She started with some bad goals and really came back nicely from that.”

Hoogeboom led the field with 17 birdies and a 3.83 par-4 scoring. She finished with a score of 70 in round one. Her best showing of the day then came in the second round, shooting a 65. Hoogeboom eventually finished off the tournament with a 73 in the third round.

“I didn’t start good, but I didn’t let that get to me,” Hoogeboom said. “I just kept on going and trusting myself and trusting my game, and that’s how I shot low.”

Even after her finish, Hoogeboom said she was not sure she had even won the tournament until the results were announced.

“While I was playing, I didn’t know the scores of the players around me, so when I finished I wasn’t sure if I won,” Hoogeboom said. “Coach shared with me that I had a one-shot lead but the other players weren’t finished yet. So, 15 minutes after my round I’m waiting around for the others to finish.”

Hoogeboom said her final shots of each hole gave her an edge over the competition.

“My strength is that my approach shots were really good,” Hoogeboom said. “That’s how I got myself a lot of chances for birdies, and I made all my putts.”

The golf team gets right back on the course Sept. 19 and 20 at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tenn.

Hoogeboom has big plans for this season.

“I hope I can keep on doing well and even win another tournament – especially with the team,” Hoogeboom said. “We hope to play well and make it to Nationals next May. That would be awesome.”

Brady Hamilton is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].