AVON — Danielle Austinson was part of the first golf team in Avon history to advance to the state tournament in Columbus. Now she’ll be the first Eagles golfer to play Division I golf in college.
Austinson took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to announce she will be continuing her athletic and academic careers at Bowling Green State University in the fall.
“Bowling Green has always been one of my favorite campuses,” Austinson said.
“I want to study forensics and they have a brand new forensics lab, plus I really connected with coach Stephanie Young, she is super friendly.
“I’m beyond excited right now. Everything has been happening so fast, I’m just trying to let it all sink in.”
Growing up, Austinson figured if she was going to have the opportunity to play a sport in college it would most likely be softball. She’s played travel ball since she was 8 and plays for the Eagles varsity. It wasn’t until just before her freshman year that her father, Todd, convinced her to choose golf over volleyball as a fall sport.
“I think my softball background helped me in golf,” Austinson said. “I always worked with a personal trainer on my legs and my core, so that strength I needed for softball helped me swing a golf club.”
Austinson’s average swing speed has been measured at 98.8 mph.
“I knew Danielle could play Division I golf, it was just a matter of finding a program that had an opening,” said former Avon coach Frank DeSmit, who coached Austinson throughout her high school career. “Watching Danielle play and seeing the quality of her shots, no one I’ve seen really hits the ball better than her.”
Because Austinson spent most of her summers playing a full schedule of travel softball, she feels her golf game has a lot of room for improvement.
“I’ve always felt like I’m behind some of the other top players in the area,” she said. “Although in the winter I worked on my game with my swing coach and tried to hit some balls on the days we didn’t have softball, I know I never played as much as some other girls. So the recruiting process was kind of hard. I’m still a work in progress, so it took the right coach to take the chance on me.”
Austinson said this summer she will play a full golf tournament schedule to get ready for her freshman season at Bowling Green.
As a senior Austinson had an average of 42 in nine-hole matches and 85 in 18-hole matches. She shot an 82 on the Legacy at Sweetbriar course in the Southwestern Conference championship. Less than a week later she shot an 88 on the same course but won a one-hole playoff to earn the final individual qualifying berth to the district tournament.
Austinson finished 34th out of 96 girls at districts with an 83.
“The best part of her game is her length. Danielle hits the ball off the tee to places most girls can’t even think about hitting it,” DeSmit said. “She has also really improved her wedge game.”
The best memories of Austinson’s high school golf career include the 2015 trip to the state tournament.
“That was a great experience to share with my teammates and just having the chance to play on the Ohio State course with the best golfers from all over the state,” Austinson said. “And I always loved just being able to practice with my teammates. We had such an awesome group of girls and coaches, it always made everything fun.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.