Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Saint Francis golfer Marissa Singer shot a 2-over 74 during Sunday's final round to win the women's city title by two strokes at Coyote Creek Golf Club.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Sarah Frazier, shown watching her ball as it inches closer to the hole on Sunday, finished second, two strokes off the lead.
Monday, July 17, 2017 1:00 am
City champ kept it cool
Teen doesn't crack under final-round pressure
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
Women's City Tournament
at Coyote Creek
Marissa Singer 70-72-74 – 216
Sarah Frazier 70-74-74 – 218
Madison Dabagia 76-72-75 – 223
Madison Chesnutt 75-74-77 – 226
Jaycee Bunner 78-76-73 – 227
The only thing better than Marissa Singer's shot making Sunday was her ability to hide any hint of nervousness from her competitors and the gallery that followed her every move at Coyote Creek.
Singer was so ostensibly cool that her caddie, who is also her coach at Saint Francis, didn't seem to know she was a touch flustered in the final round of the Women's City Tournament.
“The biggest thing, in my opinion, is Marissa has played in a lot of these (types of tournaments) and she doesn't get rattled too much,” caddie/coach Tim Alexander said after Singer posted a final-round 2-over 74 to finish the three-day tournament at even par, two strokes ahead of Sarah Frazier.
“Sarah gave us a fight today. She made a couple of mistakes and could have packed it in. But she fought hard and gave Marissa everything that she wanted. But Marissa has experience and has been here before. ... With all the tournaments she's won, she's used to facing the pressure.”
Singer, 18, who placed 21st at the NAIA National Championships as a freshman in May, came into Sunday with a two-stroke lead over Frazier, a 17-year-old Bishop Dwenger senior who has committed to play at Dayton.
“I feel really good. I couldn't have asked for better competition,” said Singer, who had battled a bout of pneumonia that limited her to only one tournament between the NAIA championships and the City Tournament, which is run by the Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association. “I'm happy with how I did today.”
Frazier got within one stroke of the lead after she birdied the par-4 fourth and Singer bogeyed the par-4 fifth. But Frazier gave it back with a double bogey on sixth. Another pivotal sequence came after the par-3 14th, where Frazier birdied to gain two strokes and get within two, as Singer gained a stroke back with a birdie on the par-5 15th.
On the 18th, Singer's tee shot came dangerously close to going out of bounds and she bogeyed after sending her birdie putt nine feet past the hole. Frazier, meanwhile, put her tee shot into a bunker and missed a chip from the fringe for a chance to tie it, though she gained a stroke with a par.
“Definitely, on the last couple of holes I did have some nerves,” Singer said, “as anyone would. But I just wanted to finish strong.”
Madison Dabagia, just 13 and an eighth-grader, finished third at 7 over, after a final-round 75. Madison Chesnutt, who plays for IPFW, was fourth at 10-over with a 77.
“The fairways here are pretty tight, so I guess my driver (was key) because I was always in the fairway this tournament,” said Singer, who hadn't played Coyote Creek before the first round. But Alexander is a former member there and his help was pivotal, especially because it was a rare time when the coach was able to caddie for his player.
“I know the course. I've played it a million times. There are a lot of secrets out here that people don't know about,” Alexander said. “That helped her get around the golf course. I just lined her up and she had to hit the shots, obviously.”
The tournament was a battle from start to finish between Singer and Frazier, who shared the lead after the first day at 2-under.
“I feel pretty good because I know I could have won it. But sometimes it's not meant to be. I have the motivation to just keep playing well,” said Frazier, who lauded Singer for her consistency. “She just played solid. I didn't really hit a bad shot all day. She might have gotten a little nervous on 18 but she just played solid.”
Jaycee Bunner, who had a 73, finished fifth at 11-over. Tying for sixth at 12-over were Morgan Dabagia and the 2016 champion, Courtney Dye, who won the NAIA national championship this year for Indiana Tech. Dye had a final-round 75 and Morgan Dabagia, a Homestead sophomore, had a 77.
Taylor Lamphier, who placed 31st, aced the 14th hole Sunday.