Despite spending almost the entire tournament in the lead, Karley Dobis contained her exuberance.
But on Monday afternoon, after claiming victory at the Womens City Tournament, she was finally able to show her excitement.
It could be seen through all of the hugs – with family, friends, her high school coach, and the woman she defeated by three strokes, Allison Curtis.
This is the best, said Dobis, a 19-year-old sophomore on the Ball State team. This is the best feeling ever. I grew up watching this tournament, and Ive wanted to win this tournament for a long time. I knew it was at my home course this year, and to get it on my own turf, it feels amazing.
Dobis fired a 3-over 75 at Coyote Creek Golf Club – with the setup lengthened 662 yards to 5,994 for the final round – and she finished the three-day tournament at 8-over 224.
Its just awesome, she said. Ive been playing in this for like five years, and I watched (four-time champion) Michelle Smith and (2012-champion) Amber Sieber win, and to be on that list with them, its just an awesome feeling.
Dobis came into the day one stroke up on Curtis and Lauren Gant. But she and her caddy, her father Timothy, had a plan.
(We) had a strategy, she said. It was just going to be pars today. I wasnt going to be mad if I missed a birdie putt. Just try to get pars. We figured if I could shoot a 75 today, Id be able to win. Luckily, thats what I got.
But Curtis, 20, put on the pressure, she said, by hitting it a lot better on the front nine. I was just hitting it perfect and was excited about how I was playing.
That gave Dobis some nervous moments, particularly after she double bogeyed the par-4 12th, allowing Curtis, a junior on the IPFW team, to pull into a tie for the lead.
I almost chipped it in there and was like, Oh, my gosh, maybe this could happen, said Curtis, who posted a 77. I dont know if I got ahead of myself, but I was definitely motivated on every single hole to be where she was because I wanted to keep my eye right where she was. I thought that maybe Id have a chance. Hopefully, next year, I can do better.
After catching up, Curtis said she changed her tempo for the worse, and that allowed Dobis to take charge in the tournament, which is run by the Fort Wayne Womens Golf Association and has been played since 1931.
I kind of like the pressure, and I started catching some breaks out of the trees and got some nice bounces, Dobis said. To get that helped me get back in the game and finish strong.
Gant, a former high school state champion, shot an 80 and finished third at 14-over 230. Ashton Taft, who is also on the IPFW team, carded a 79 to finish fourth at 15 over.
Three-time champion Lori Stinson shot a 79 and finished fifth at 18-over 234. And Kim Gottwalds 81 put her in sixth place at 19 over.