Butler grad Shingleton adjusts golf game, helps Eckerd win title



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Butler graduate Mara Shingleton, a sophomore at Eckerd College in Florida, was silver medalist Tuesday at the Warner University Invitational. Shingleton's contribution helped Eckerd's womens golf program capture its first tournament championship. 
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mara Shingleton found her game — and Eckerd College found a tournament victory. 
A 2010
Butler graduate, Shingleton is a sophomore on the Eckerd College women's golf team, a sixth-year program that had never won a tournament. 
Until now. 
Shingleton carded a 77-78-155 for a career-high second-place finish in the Warner Invitational last Tuesday in
Avon Park, Fla. She led four Eckerd golfers finishing among the top 13 and helped enable the Tritons to win the tournament by five strokes. 
The victory occurred after the Eckerd team was involved in an auto accident on the way to a practice round for the tournament. 
“Our van got T-Boned by a smaller car,” Shingleton said. “I actuially took the worst of it because I was sitting on the passenger side, right where the car hit us. 
“Fortunately, because we were in a van, I was seated higher up than the level of that car ... I feel a little sore, but it could have been a lot worse.” 
Nobody was injured in the accident and the Tritons went on to win the tournament. 
“That was a big step for us,” Eckerd coach Bill Buttner said. “We still have a way to go as a program. We don't have that dependable fifth golfer yet and we need to build some depth in the roster.” 
Eckerd has seven golfers on the women's squad. Only one is a senior and Shingleton is one of three sophomores on the team. There are two freshmen as well. 
“Mara and those other sophomores are quality players. They are the core of the group that I believe can take us to the next level,” Buttner said. 
Prior to winning the Warner Invitational, Eckerd had not finished higher than 13th in any team event this year. 
Shingleton was attracted to
Eckerd College by its international relations program. She is majoring in international relations and global affairs with minors in spanish, arabic and political science. 
Eckerd is a Division II school athletically. 
“I'm so glad I came down here,” said Shingleton, who has an uncle living in
St. Petersburg. “The chemistry on our team is incredible. We practice together and work out together. 
“We genuinely enjoy being around each other, so we help each other with the mental side of the game.” 
Buttner spent 15 years as a professional golfer, including six years on the PGA Tour. He played in five U.S. Opens. 
And when Shingleton arrived on campus, he totally changed her game. 
“Bill's been great,” Shingleton said. “He changed my grip and my swing pattern and changed my mentality toward the game. 
“I used to get mad at myself every time I'd hit a bad shot and I'd let it affect me. I don't do that anymore. Monday (first day of the Warner tourney) I hit a ball in the water, then came back with a number of pars and a birdie. No way does that happen in high school.” 
Buttner said Shingleton's mechanics were off when she first joined the program. 
“She had too strong a grip on the club and she had a high cut on her swing, getting too much air under the ball and losing distance,” the coach said. “We made a couple of adjustments, got more whip out of her club and she's picked up another 100 yards off the tee. 
“Mara had to go through an adjustment period with all of these changes. Now she's hitting her stride.” 
Shingleton's golf goal for the remainder of her college career is pretty basic. 
“I want to be dependable for the rest of the team and that means play consistently,” she said. “I want the girls to know they can rely on me.”