Women’s golf seniors reflect on time as Illini


Photo courtesy of Mark Jones

Illini women’s golfer Pailin Ruttanasupagid watches the ball after taking a swing. She is one of four seniors currently on the Illini roster.

By Rachel Specner, Staff Writer

As March finally gives way to April, members of the class of 2018 set their sights on an end goal:  commencement and the honor of receiving a diploma from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This May, the women’s golf team will say farewell to four graduating seniors. Dana Gattone, Grace Park, Chayanid Prapassarangkul and Pailin Ruttanasupagid will tee off during the regular season for the last time on April 14 at the Lady Buckeye Invitational before entering into Big Ten and NCAA postseason competition.

Like many seniors getting ready to say goodbye, each of the four has certain memories that have made their four years at U-I — and as Illini — worthwhile.

“My most memorable moment of my golf career at UIUC is traveling to Hawaii to play a tournament with the team,” Prapassarangkul said. “We were able to spend time together outside of golf, sunrise hiking, watching shows and having local food as well. I never thought I would get to go to Hawaii so that was a very special experience to me.”

For Park, coming to the University was filled with major firsts, including her first practice with an actual golf team.

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Like so many graduating seniors, Park experienced a touch of sentimentality when looking back on the past four years.

“I will really miss the people I met here,” Park said.

Many graduates often ponder their legacy when leaving campus, as they face the reality of starting a new chapter in their lives.

When asked about what she would put in a “senior will,” Gattone knew just what part of her life she had in mind — and to whom she would give it.

“I leave all of my snacks to the amazing Ali Morallos because you never know when you might get hungry,” Gattone said.

When Gattone, Park, Prapassarangkul and Ruttanasupagid say their fond farewells — and take a photo or two with Alma Mater — different paths will be laid out before each of them as they step up to the first tee of real life.

Ruttanasupagid will find herself in Chicago for the summer working as a tax intern before graduate school takes her back to her hometown of San Diego, California, and the campus of San Diego State University.

Gattone will also be working in the Chicagoland area, with plans to continue on to graduate school. Prapassarangkul plans to return to her home in Bangkok, Thailand, and Park intends to coach college golf. 

Regardless of where life takes them, Ruttanasupagid and the rest of her teammates will always make time for a round or two.

“I am planning to continue to play and enjoy the game of golf no matter where my career takes me,” Ruttanasupagid said.

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