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Around the links in Northern Kentucky: Kenton County golfers use balance, depth to regain crown

By Marc Hardin
NKyTribune contributor

When the golfers for Kenton County got together at the beginning of the Northern Kentucky Women’s Golf Association Team Play season, they had one goal — regain their crown.

“We definitely wanted to win,” said Kenton County captain Jackie Steele.

Northern Kentucky Golf Club swiped it away last season. But Kenton County swiped it back, outlasting their rivals in the final standings by 18 points.

Kenton County finished with 546.5 points. The team of six regular players plus one invaluable substitute player led the standings for most of the season. Northern Kentucky Golf Club was second with 528.5. They were the only teams eclipsing the 500-point mark. Fort Mitchell was third with 499.5.

“We’re a pretty strong team. Most handicaps on our team are under 20,” Steele said. “It’s a competitive event and you get to play on different courses and meet really nice ladies. Everybody watches the standings. We’re pretty happy.”

Kenton County had good depth and balance and it showed week to week. Mary Jo Meek was Kenton County’s No. 1 player by one handicap stroke over No. 2 Susan Sullivan. Becky Claypool, Steele, Lisa O’Brien and longtime team member and former captain Lettie Burch round out the top six.

The season began May 17 at Boone Links and concluded Aug. 14 at Twin Oaks. There were nine events on nine different host courses. The 10 teams play five head-to-head matches each week with a scoring system. Points are divvied up each week and a running total is kept.

Tee times usually begin at 8 a.m. It’s tough keeping a regular rotation together with regard to availability and subs are usually needed. Kenton County had a super sub in Pat Frommeyer.

“She wound up playing in four of the events,” said Steele, in her third season as team captain. “That really helped.”

Steele is hopeful that the team can keep it going. A win next season would be the third championship in four years for Kenton County. Of course she knows that the Northern Kentucky Golf Club and the rest of the field may have other ideas.

“Next year’s goal is to stay on top,” she said. “Get out front early and stay there.”

Around the links in Northern Kentucky:

FOUR-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Matthew Wetterich and partner Nicolas Paxson won Tuesday’s 17th Northern Kentucky Four-Ball gross championship, a two-day event benefiting OneStrokeForward.org at Lassing Pointe. Wetterich plays out of Maketewah, Paxson at Clovernook. They finished with a stroke-play score of 18-under-par 124, three strokes ahead of the runner-up team of Ryan Dages and Bob Spencer (127) from Oasis. In third was the Stephens Golf Academy’s Fred Geraci and Triple Crown’s Rob Petrey at 128. Two pairs of Triple Crown members tied for fourth at 130. They were Chris Cronenweth and Tim Lastivka, and Jeff Floyd and Brad Marsh.

Austin Squires, fresh off a U.S. Amateur quarterfinal appearance, is fifth in the GCGA player of the year points race with 200. (Photo provided by Austin Squires)

KENTON COUNTY: The team of Richie Hedges, Donna Oldendick, Linda Higdon and Georgia Sargent won the NKWGA’s White Elephant Open, a best-ball/1-2-3 format, with a score of 125. Prizes will be handed out in October at the NKWGA’s Best-Ball Tournament.

SUMMIT HILLS: Member Brad Wilder was third in the most recently updated Greater Cincinnati Golf Association player of the year points race standings. Wilder, a former Covington Catholic and University of Cincinnati golfer, has 230 points in three events. Wilder was second at the Northern Kentucky Amateur, second at the GCGA Four-Ball Championship and ninth at the GCGA Metropoltan. He trails leader Will Grimmer, an Ohio State golfer from Maketewah, by 385. Grimmer won the Metropolitan, earning 150 points, and has accrued a whopping total of 615. The winner will be officially announced later this fall.

TRADITIONS: Janie Klare, who plays at Traditions, was honored Aug. 15 at Kenwood Country Club as a Cincinnati Legend of Golf honoree. Klare, who also plays at O’Bannon Creek in Loveland, Ohio, won Cincinnati’s Women’s Metropolitan Amateur Championship in 1985 and 1989. She also won the Ohio Women’s Amateur, Ohio Junior Amateur and Ohio Senior Amateur. The Legends of Cincinnati Golf program was started in 1981. Award winners are chosen by a committee.

Traditions member Kurt Fortman is ninth in the GCGA player of the year points race standings with 135. He was third at the Northern Kentucky Amateur and ninth at the Metropolitan.

TRIPLE CROWN: Member Austin Squires, fresh off a U.S. Amateur quarterfinal appearance, is fifth in the GCGA player of the year points race with 200. He was this year’s Met runner-up and earned 75 points for qualifying for the U.S. Amateur. Member Jacob Poore is tied for 10th in the points race with 130. Poore, a former Ryle golfer playing at Northern Kentucky University, was fifth at the Met and ninth at the Northern Kentucky Amateur.

Marc Hardin’s summer golf column has been featured in The Kentucky Post and Kentucky Enquirer for 15 years. He’s covered all the local amateur tournaments and several PGA and LPGA events since 2003. His feature for The Cincinnati Post about how Chi Chi Rodriguez got on the album cover of a Devo record was PGA Story Of The Day from the 2004 Kroger Classic at The Golf Center at Kings Island. Marc has written for the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association and Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association. He welcomes comments, story tips, feature ideas and your league’s standings. You can contact him at marcwriterdude@yahoo.com.

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