DeKALB – The ladies from Timber Creek gave Kishwaukee their best shot, but it wasn’t quite good enough to spoil the party.
Kishwaukee defended its home turf by winning the 97th annual Ladies Lincoln Highway golf tournament that wrapped up Saturday at Kishwaukee Country Club.
Kish finished with a best-against-bogey score of +119, +26 more than Timber Creek. The spread was +19 (+66 to +47) after Friday’s opening 18 holes.
“What a wonderful group of ladies that played this year, and on our home course, it felt wonderful to secure that win,” Kish’s Mya Groza said.
Leading the way for Kishwaukee was recent DeKalb High School graduate Emma Carpenter, who had a 2-day total of +29, just ahead of Groza, who was runner-up at +26.
“This event is so refreshing for me,” said Carpenter, a University of Minnesota recruit. “It’s competitive, and I love having the opportunity to play with all of these ladies. They’re so great. The big thing was to win as a team. It’s exciting for us as a club and a group of friends to pull it out.”
Groza had been +16 after the first 18, one ahead of Carpenter, but was unable to hang on against her relentless teammate. Groza played college golf at Cincinnati, where she graduated from in 2007, but golf now takes a backseat to her growing family that now includes three children.
“I’ve been out of competitive golf for over 10 years now,” Groza said, “so it’s fun for me to get that adrenaline going, and the jitters. We need that in life. We need those moments that get us excited and nervous. It was really fun to play with Emma. She’s a joy to watch, and she’s going to be very successful in her career.”
Carpenter had a 1-under-par 72 for her gross score on Saturday, on the heels of a 76 on Friday. It could have been better.
“I had a combined eight three-putts over the 2 days, which is eight too many,” Carpenter said. “I could have done that much better. Giving away strokes like that isn’t ideal, but you can’t do everything perfectly all of the time.”
The other scores for Kishwaukee were Ruth Heal (+24), Allison Yohanan (+19), Donna Martin (+15), Joan Burger (+6), Linda Hartley (+3) and Deb Schiavi (-4).
Leading the way for Timber Creek was Dixon High School junior Bella Heintzelman, who went +13 Saturday to wind up +24 for the tournament. She tied Kish’s Heal atop the Third Flight, and took first when Heal forfeited a playoff.
Heintzelman had gone -2 in her first LHT last year at PrairieView in Byron. This year, she was in the final group with Carpenter and Groza, as well as teammate Patty Head, and more than held her own.
“On the first tee, I was more nervous than usual,” Heintzelman said, “but they made it comfortable for me. They were hyping me up the whole time. I loved it.”
Mandy Curia, Kristie Pultorak and Head each finished +17 for Timber Creek. Curia and Head won the First and Fourth Flights, respectively, while Pultorak was runner-up in the Fifth Flight. Mimi Boysen won the Seventh Flight at +7.
Olivia Pultorak (+11), Nikki Masini (+4) and Charlotte McCoy (-11) rounded out the Timber Creek lineup.
Prophet Hills was the only other team on the plus side in the best-against-bogey format at +10. Leading the way for the Prophetstown course were Shelley Felske (+10), Cathy Verhulst (+7) and Karen Wiersema (+3).
Sunset was sixth as a team at -23. Abi Scheidecker (+16) and Ali Scheidecker (+15) led the way for the Mount Morris club.
Rock River Golf & Pool was seventh with a -42 score. Deena Gallentine and Desa Richards-Smith were each +1.
Deer Valley was eighth with a -67 total. Meridith Adams was runner-up in the First Flight after winning a one-hole playoff against Sunset’s Abi Scheidecker. Both were at +16.
Next year’s women’s event will be held at Rock River Golf & Pool.
This year’s men’s Lincoln Highway Tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday at Deer Valley.
1. Kishwaukee +119, 2. Timber Creek +93, 3. Prophet Hills +10, 4. PrairieView even, 5. Indian Oaks -14, 6. Sunset -23, 7. Rock River -42, 8. Deer Valley -67