Lori Stinson's back nine Friday may have been “an adventure,” but it was one with a favorable ending – her atop the leader board at the City Tournament, a Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association event.
Stinson shot a 2-over 74, including a 2-under 34 on the front nine to take a one-shot lead into today's second round at Autumn Ridge Golf Club.
With the course hardened by the 84-degree temperature, strange hops were plentiful for the players, and the putting surfaces were fast.
Stinson, who won the 54-hole tournament last year, converted a 27-foot putt from off the green to save birdie on the par-5 12th hole and that may have been the most significant stroke of her round.
“My Aunt Bonnie was caddying for me and when we pulled up, she said, 'Oh, you can make that,'” Stinson said. “When it went in, I was like, 'Hey, all right.'”
Stinson, a 49-year-old Realtor, was comfortable using her putter from multiple spots off the green.
“Sometimes with the fringe, you're not sure how the ball is going to come off,” Stinson said. “But it's dried up. I played out here on Sunday, and a couple other times this week, and it's gotten drier every day. So you don't have to worry so much about how hard to hit it through the fringe because you know it's going to release.”
Stinson, who has won this tournament, now in its 89th year, four times, recorded 26 official putts.
Not surprisingly, the person in second place, Danica Swaggerty, was almost as good with 27. Swaggerty, 21, hit only six greens in regulation and relied on her short game to card a 75 at 5,900-yard Autumn Ridge. She had birdies on the par-4 sixth and par-3 16th.
“Just how I play my game, (I'm) getting it into play off the tee and taking it shot by shot. I know I'm a good putter, so if I get on the green I'm guaranteed at least a two-putt,” Swaggerty said.
Course familiarity helped Swaggerty; Autumn Ridge is one of the courses where her college team, Saint Francis, plays its home matches.
“The greens have dried out and they were definitely slopey in some areas,” Swaggerty said. “This course is known to have really big undulations, so it's just being really cautious and paying attention to the speed when it comes to longer putts, getting it lagged up there.”
Morgan Dabagia, 17, who plays for Homestead, was in third place with a 76.
Her younger sister Madison shot a 77 and was tied for fourth place with Brooke Moser, who plays for Southern Indiana, and Betsy Schroeder, who plays for Huntington University.
“My first time playing this course was three days ago,” said Morgan Dabagia, who had five birdies but fell back a bit by going 3 over on the final two holes. “I think a key to this course is staying below the hole because the greens are undulating. You want to be below the hole, in order to have an uphill, easier putt. A lot of the trouble I got into was from being above the hole.”
Sarah Frazier, who plays for the University of Dayton, was in seventh place after a 78. One stroke back of her were Simone Senk, Sarah Banister and Gabbi Keller.
Stinson was 2 under on the front nine, birdieing the par-5 fourth and par-4 fifth, but the back nine was tumultuous as her birdie on 12 was tempered by double bogeys on the par-4 13th and the 16th, along with a bogey on the par-3 11th.
“I love this golf course because you get a lot of different shots,” Stinson said. “You've got doglegs right, doglegs left and undulation in the fairway. For me, it's just about picking the spot and trusting it because you've got some funky lies out there.”
At Autumn Ridge Golf Club
Par 72; 5,900 yards
|Lori Stinson||74 (+2)|
|Danica Swaggerty||75 (+3)|
|Morgan Dabagia||76 (+4)|
|Brooke Moser||77 (+5)|
|Madison Dabagia||77 (+5)|
|Betsy Schroeder||77 (+5)|
|Sarah Frazier||78 (+6)|