In the summer of 2014, Emma Schroeder shot a 110 at Coyote Creek Golf Club. She remembers being "pretty excited" by that score at the time, but now it's just a mark of how far she has come as a golfer.
Seven years later, Schroeder is the Women's City Tournament champion. She captured the title at Coyote Creek with a 5-over 77 in the final round Sunday, holding off a late charge from future Purdue Fort Wayne teammate Casey Bunner to win with a three-day score of 4-over 220. It's her first tournament victory since high school, when she played at Homestead.
"It means so much," Schroeder, 21, said of her victory. "I've been playing since I was a freshman in high school ... so I've come a long way and I'm really excited."
"It was such a relief just to be done," she added. "Casey Bunner was on my tail and to see that putt (on 18) drop, it meant so much."
Schroeder started the day with a seven-shot lead over Bunner and Leo graduate Brooke Moser and parred six straight holes to open the round, including a great save with a pitch to two feet from 60 yards on the fourth hole after her initial approach from the rough had clipped a tree.
Then came trouble in the form of four bogies in a row on seven, eight, nine and 10. Meanwhile, Bunner, playing with Schroeder in the final group, began slicing into the lead. Her comeback started with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-5 second hole and she added another birdie on the fifth. A pair of bogies on the fourth and the ninth left her with a front-nine 36, four strokes off the lead. The margin dropped to three after Schroeder's bogey on 10 from the trees on the right side.
"It's kind of hard, knowing you're seven shots behind (at the start of the day), but I was like, I just have to keep trucking, keep (Schroeder) on her toes and that's what I did," Bunner said. "I didn't give it up easily."
Schroeder settled down after he run of bogies, parring the next five in a row and picking up a stroke on 12 when Bunner missed a 5-foot par putt after a drive well to the right.
The leader seemed safe with a four-stroke lead and six holes left, but Bunner wasn't done yet. She lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt on 13 and then lipped out back-to-back chips on 13 and 14, settling for par and birdie, instead of the birdie and eagle she nearly had.
"On the par 3 (14), I thought (my chip) was going in the whole way, it rimmed out" said Bunner, a Blackhawk Christian graduate. "(The next hole), I almost chipped in for eagle, barely rimmed out, I was like, 'Come on.' But it was still a decent round."
Schroeder and Bunner are close friends and will play at PFW together in the coming season after Bunner transferred in from Mount Vernon Nazarene. When Schroeder made a 3-foot par putt on the final hole to clinch the victory, she immediately went and hugged Bunner.
"She's my best friend, so if I had to lose to someone, at least I lost to her," Bunner said of Schroeder.
Moser, who was tied with Bunner at 6 over to start the round and was also in the final group, shot 78 Sunday to finish third at 12-over 228. Megan Yoder fired a 74 in the third round to take fourth at 14 over and Alexis Stuckey, who shot a 72 in the first round, had a second straight 80 Sunday to finish fifth with a 16-over 232.
Jodi Clark won Senior City title with an 82 in the second of two rounds to finish with a 158, four strokes clear of Beth Bergeron.
At Coyote Creek Golf Club
Par: 72; Yardage: 5,667
1. Emma Schroeder 71-72-77—220 +4
2. Casey Bunner 76-74-72—222 +6
3. Brooke Moser 72-78-78—228 +12
4. Megan Yoder 77-79-74––230 +14
5. Alexis Stuckey 72-80-80—232 +16