Heading into her freshman year at the University of Indianapolis, with a 19th-place finish in the 2013 IHSAA state girl’s golf tournament under her belt from her senior year at Seymour High School, Paxton DeHaven maintained high expectations for the collegiate ranks.
Following a wildly successful inaugural regular season with the Greyhounds, a NCAA Division II women’s golf program, DeHaven is now on the links where she fully intended to hit — The Meadows Golf Course, at the national championships, in Allendale, Michigan.
The sixth-ranked Greyhounds won their fourth straight East Super Regional crown last week, beating out second-place Ashland by 13 strokes to earn a berth at nationals.
“It was one of the greatest moments when I found out we made it to nationals,” DeHaven said. “We all surrounded hole No. 18 green and got in a big huddle and hugged one another. A moment that is hard to put into words. Definitely something that I will remember forever.”
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At the super regional in Lemont, Illinois, DeHaven shot a 238 (81-77-80) for 21st place.
“At regional, I didn’t perform the way I would of liked,” DeHaven said. “However, I focused on what I needed to work on this past week so that my game would be ready for nationals. I tried to take the positives from the tournament and learn from my prior mistakes.”
Just 12 full teams from across the country will compete in the national tournament.
“We expect to be in the final group on Saturday,” DeHaven said. “Our expectations haven’t changed, and our goal is to go out and win the tournament just like every other time. For myself, I just want to go play solid for four days and post four scores 75 or lower. I’m excited to see what the team and I can accomplish.”
During the fall, DeHaven won two of her team’s four tournaments. In the spring, the Greyhounds won another four tournaments, including Great Lakes Valley Conference and regionals.
DeHaven’s 13th-place finish at conference, on April 26, scoring 237 (80-76-81), earned All-Conference honors in Waterloo, Illinois.
It was Indianapolis’ record fourth-straight conference championship, and the Greyhounds have now won nine of the 17 GLVC women’s golf titles since the inaugural championship in the fall of 1998.
DeHaven is amongst good company with the Greyhounds, playing with fellow freshman Annika Haynes and junior Brooke Beegle, among other talented golfers who led the way at regional tying for second and fourth, respectively.
“It has been amazing to be surrounded by such talented teammates,” DeHaven said. “My teammates have made me strive to be a better player and a better student in the classroom. Their motivation and hard work matches up with how I want to be.
“They are all great role models and lead perfect examples for my future years. They have taught me that anything is possible.”
Since attending Indianapolis, DeHaven has seen her game improve dramatically. However, most of her changes aren’t seen in her swing.
“I see the most improvement in my mental game,” DeHaven said. “College has taught me that even when the conditions are tough, I still have to battle through everything and not give up. I have done a better job of staying positive with myself and staying in the moment.”
Despite the successes, DeHaven still has goals yet to reach.
“I would like to see more improvement in my short game,” DeHaven said. “Short game is the most important aspect in golf, and I feel like it hasn’t been as strong lately as it needs to be.”
Above everything else DeHaven knows she’s growing every time she grabs her clubs.
“l think I am playing the best golf of my career,” DeHaven said. “I think I’m constantly improving and getting stronger mentally and physically.”