Madison Dabagia and Simone Senk are teammates for Homestead, which won the IHSAA state title last season, and they're almost inseparable off the course. Even though they'd played hundreds of rounds together, they'd never been paired in a competition – as opponents or teammates – until Saturday at Brookwood Golf Club.
“It's crazy,” Dabagia said. “We're best friends. I don't know if she cared, but I felt, 'This is going to be so weird playing with her.' It's because we hang out like every single day and we, obviously, play a lot together in practice. But it wasn't weird at all. It was fine.”
Their duel was a fascinating one at the 90th Women's City Tournament, in which Sarah Frazier posted a breathtaking 5-under 68. Frazier, who is at 3 under overall, leads Senk by two strokes and Dabagia by three heading into today's final round.
“(In the first round), I just got way too caught up in my score and I was putting way too much pressure on myself. I knew I could be in contention and I wasn't hitting the shots as well as I could,” said Frazier, who came into Saturday three strokes back of Senk's pace.
“Today, I had a better attitude. I went out there trying to not be too caught up in my score, and I was more focused on hitting good shots. It ended up being a lot better.”
Frazier, a 20-year-old junior on the University of Dayton team, carded seven birdies and two bogeys. She's been the runner-up twice at the City Tournament – behind Lori Stinson in 2019 and back of Marissa Singer in 2017 – and those near-misses have haunted her.
“For sure, I think that's why I was that way on the first day. 'I want to win.' But you can't win it on the first day,” Frazier said. “I realized that and, today, I kind of went out there, did what I need to do. Tomorrow, I'll do the same thing, just focus on hitting good shots and not worry about where I'm at (on the leader board).”
As part of Saturday's leader group with Senk and Stinson, Dabagia posted a 72 – the only person other than Frazier to shoot under par – highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 ninth.
“The wind was blowing way harder (than Friday) and the pins were really hard,” said Dabagia, 16. “They were all tucked in and there wasn't much green to work with because of where the pins were. It was very tough on the approach shots.”
Dabagia and Senk had long bantered about wanting to play together in a leader group, but the joking mostly stopped once they hit their first shots at 5,800-yard Brookwood.
“Especially since our dads were with us (caddying), we were engaged in our own games and our own scores,” said Dabagia, who finished third last week at the Girls State Junior Championship, three places ahead of Senk.
Senk shot a 74 Saturday.
“It was a lot harder out here than (the first round). It was a lot windier, so I didn't hit as many greens and I didn't have as many birdie opportunities. The round was OK, just a little tougher conditions,” said Senk, 16.
“I've just got to keep staying aggressive on a couple shots. I kind of let the wind get to me, so I left (shots) a bit short. I need to maintain that aggression and do my best.”
Senk said what made Saturday such a “fun, good time” was playing with Dabagia, even if most bystanders might not have been able to tell they're such good friends.
“We didn't talk much,” Senk said. “We kind of just told each other 'good shot' and, a couple times, laughed about some stuff. She gets very into it and I do, too, so were just kind of keeping to ourselves.”
Karley Jump, the 2013 champion, shot a 74 and is in fourth place at 2 over. Stinson, trying to become the first person since Pat Wright in the 1960s to win three straight City Tournaments, had a 76 and is in fifth place at 4 over, one stroke ahead of Southern Indiana's Brooke Moser.
Beth Bergeron took the lead in the senior tournament, shooting a 5-over 78 in the first round to put her three strokes ahead of Jackie Raftree.
At Brookwood Golf Club
Par: 73; Yardage: 5,800
Sarah Frazier 75-68 – 143 -3
Simone Senk 71-74 – 145 -1
Madison Dabagia 74-72 – 147 E
Karley Jump 74-74 – 148 +2
Lori Stinson 74-76 – 150 +4
Brooke Moser 74-77 – 151 +5