Laetitia Solombrino: Don’t go chasing birdies

Laetitia Solombrino is a senior on the women’s golf team at Park University. She has been a reliable player for the Pirates and has ended several seasons with multiple individual top 5 finishes.

For the 2023 spring season, Solombrino has had three top five finishes:  2nd, 3rd and 1st. For the entire 2022-23 season, she has been in the top 10 scorers in all tournaments and has not placed below 6th.

Solombrino’s top place finish at the Graceland Spring Invitational on Mar 25 was the third win of her college career according to her head coach, Martha Linscott.

Solombrino originally moved from Germany to Park because of the golf program and the former golf coach. She also liked the location and how close Park is to Kansas City. “It’s close to the (Kansas City) Chiefs, you have Sporting KC and the (University of Kansas) Jayhawks aren’t too far away.”

Some advice that the senior has for incoming student athletes is to be open to things. “It’s always going to be hard. I know most people I’ve talked to have wanted to go home after their first semester and never come back,” she said. However, she advises to instead find your people. “Being able to have and rely on your person or your people is what makes you love a small school.”

Her biggest lesson also has a bit of advice in it. She has learned the patience is very important, especially in golf. “The more you want it, the less it’ll work,” she said, “I like to chase after birdies, instead of being patient and waiting for them to fall, which makes me shoot worse than I should have. And I think that obviously applies to life.” She want to remind others not to get hung up on little things in sports and in life.

After graduation, she plans to take an optional practical training year and work in the U.S.

Her favorite memory on the golf team is winning the Heart of America Conference tournament in 2021 during her sophomore year. “We went into a playoff with another team who was completely tied with us after three rounds. So 10 players, five from each team went and played the same hole at the same time.” She continued, “We didn’t really know what was going on or who won with that many people playing until other coaches started telling us congratulations. Then, the boys (Park golf team) came running down with water bottles and threw water on us, and that’s when we knew we had won.”

The Park women will fight to win the Heart Conference tournament again on Monday, May 1 and Tuesday, May 2.