ORLANDO, Fla. – Ryann O’Toole walked away from the Solheim Cup two months ago stinging from the disappointing finish but encouraged by her overall play in the face of so much pressure as a surprising captain’s pick.
“I go back and forth,” O’Toole said. “Nobody likes to lose, but when you know you did all you could, there’s nothing else to do.”
O’Toole is among the 60 players teeing it up at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders Championship at Grand Cypress Resort this week. No rookie's had a more newsworthy year. She comes to the finish line encouraged by her highs and motivated by her lows.
She’s 46th on the LPGA money list, fourth in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings.
O’Toole, 24, showed so much promise in her first seven starts that American Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones made her a wild-card selection. She really caught Jones' attention finishing ninth at the U.S. Women's Open.
Though O’Toole slumped after being named to the American team, she turned her game around with a mostly brilliant Solheim Cup appearance. She endured a cruel ending, however, with the Solheim Cup’s outcome coming down to her match against Sweden's Caroline Hedwall. After building a 2-up advantage with two holes to play, O’Toole walked away with a halve. Europe won the Cup with the half point in a later match.
“The Solheim Cup was an experience of a lifetime,” O’Toole said. “It definitely was filled with the best moments I’ve had in my golf career. To be able to say I put in a 100-percent effort, was a team player, there are no regrets.”
O’Toole was 2-0-2 at the Solheim Cup. In four LPGA starts since thn, her best finish is a tie for 25th at the Mizuno Classic in Japan. She said the Solheim Cup success has escalated what she expects of herself.
“I’ve caused a bit of the pressure and frustration,” O’Toole said. “I see myself at the top level, playing among the best. I’ve found myself getting a little upset when I hit bad shots, just expecting more out of my rounds. That wasn’t me before. It’s a learning process, understanding, ‘OK, I have the talent, but mentally I still have to get stronger.’ I think that’s where my growing will come. Knowing I have room to grow in my game, that I’m not at my peak, is the best part of where I’m at. I haven’t reached my full potential yet. I’m still learning.”