Showalter wins Nemadji titleDeb Showalter was about two-thirds through her round at the Nemadji Women’s Invitational on Wednesday when the Duluth golfer started thinking about how special it would be to win
By: By Jon Nowacki, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
Deb Showalter was about two-thirds through her round at the Nemadji Women’s Invitational on Wednesday when the Duluth golfer started thinking about how special it would be to win.
Then she chided herself, knowing her father and golfing mentor always reminded her to never look too far ahead.
Showalter regained her focus to shoot a 1-over-par 73, good for a two-stroke victory over Northern Illinois golfer Kelsie Passolt after Showalter sank a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole at Nemadji Golf Course. Showalter believes it’s her fourth Nemadji title, but this one was bittersweet. It’s her first title since her father, Dale Stocke, died last August, just 12 hours before he was scheduled for heart surgery.
“Dad taught me to golf when I was 3,” said Showalter, 42. “He would caddie if I asked him to, but otherwise, he didn’t want to get too close. He didn’t want me to get nervous, but I always knew he was there. I could feel it.”
Showalter was feeling it Wednesday. Playing the East-West course, she made the turn with a two-stroke lead over Passolt after shooting a 1-over 37.
Passolt, of Hayward, played a strong final nine and was tied with Showalter going into the par 4 No. 18. After solid drives, their approach shots landed within feet of each other on the fringe. Seven-time Nemadji champion Norma O’Leary, playing in their threesome, paced the distances and estimated Showalter’s ball was a few inches closer to the pin.
Passolt shot first and missed left. Showalter shot next and got just enough on it to drop in, as she yelled “go, go, go!”
“I just wanted to get it close to the hole for a tap-in,” Showalter said. “There was a little part of the cup that was sticking up, and I wanted to go fix it but I knew I couldn’t. I thought for sure when it got up to the hole, it was just going to sit there and stop. After I saw it go right at it, my heart started beating rapidly.”
It didn’t stop short, and Showalter earned a dramatic win to snap O’Leary’s run of two straight Nemadji titles. Showalter had finished second to O’Leary the past two years, including by a stroke last summer.
Showalter’s 73 was her career best on the East-West course and it included three birdies. Passolt missed a three-foot putt on the last hole but held on for second with a 75 and O’Leary, despite an eagle on No. 15 that put her in contention, wound up third at 77.
Passolt is a broadcast journalism major at Northern Illinois. She finished second to Alison Meyer last week at the Northland Women’s Invitational. She plays summer tournaments to stay sharp for college, and she said she is learning from some of the best in O’Leary and Showalter.
“Experience is everything out here,” said Passolt, 19. “You can practice as long as you want, but until you get out here and play against some true competitors, experience is what you need. I don’t mind taking second to somebody who played their butt off. Deb was awesome.”
Indeed, this one belonged to Showalter.
“I’ve finished runner-up a lot,” Showalter said, “but I was playing for dad today.”
DIVOTS: Showalter won Nemadji titles in 1989, 1998, 2004 and 2006. She also finished second a number of times, including in 1999 when she lost a five-hole playoff to Kelly Steen of Luck. … Joan Richardson won the Senior title with a 79. Richardson was the overall champion in 1992 then won seven senior titles from 1998 to 2006.
Nemadji Women’s Invitational
East-West Course - Par 72
Championship Flight — Deb Showalter, 73; 2. Kelsie Passolt, 75; 3. Norma O’Leary, 77; 4. Pat Kelly, 79; 5. Kelly Steen, 81; 6. Julie Hines 84.
1st Flight — 1. Ginger Smith, 81. 2. Jan Maki, 82; 3. Peggy Hanson, 83; 4. Barb Olson, 84. 5. Lynn Duncan, 84; 6. Karen Wangensteen, 85.
2nd flight — 1. Jody Raymond, 88; 2. Jan Maki, 82; 3. Peggy Hanson, 83; 4. Barb Olson; 5. Lynn Duncan; 6. Karen Wangensteen, 85.
3rd flight — 1. Judy McKee, 83; 2. Vicky Haley, 86; Jan Gellerstedt, 90; 4. Sandi Wade, 93.
4th flight — 1. Moe Miller, 94; 2. Renna Rychlak, 95; 3. Lynn Gilberg, 95; 4. Michelle Rieder, Stacy Ernst, Nan Sauter, 97s.
5th fligth — 1. Sandra Thorsell, 90; 2. Rhonda Anderson, 90; 3. Barb Hoag, 93; 4. Julie Holden, 97.
6th flight — Sandi Fogo, 94; 2. Teresa Peterson, 101; 3. Laura Bohrer, 102; 4. Char Messerich, 103; 5. Linda Nichols, 107.
7th flight — 1. Lynda Halstensen, 100; 2. Jan Zanner, 117.
Senior Flight Winners
1st — 1. Joan Richardson, 79; 2. Mary Meierotto, 80; 3. Pi Peterson, 82; 4. Cheryl Mortensen, 89.
2nd — 1. Lynda Culley, 90; 2. Karen Rausch, 91. 3. Dorothy Miekoday, 91; 4. Jeri Watters, 97.
3rd — 1. Evie Seran, 97; 2. Gail Erdman, 97; 3. Shelia Lysak, 98; 4. Carol Germann, 98.
4th — 1. Eileen Jensen, 94; 2. Hope Vasseur, 106; 3. Jo-Ann Downs, 109.
5th — 1. Yvonne Sleeman, 98; 2. Patti Turcotte, 99; 3. Carol Smith, 108; 4. Bev Saarimaki, 110.
6th — 1. Phylis Fitzgerald, 118; 2. Michelle Gustafson.