Trish Ronchi and Barb Olson will be back to defend their respective titles when the 73rd annual Nemadji Women's Invitational tees off at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 24, at Nemadji Golf Course.
Ronchi’s recent dominance at Nemadji included a tournament record (and personal-best) score of 68 last year. She also finished second in 2017, losing a one-hole playoff Norma O’Leary, and finished first in 2015.
The previous tournament record was a 70 by Hermantown’s Deb Showalter in 2004. There was a 22 recorded by Mrs. P.H. Stromquist in 1964, but that tournament was rained out after just three holes.
Ronchi’s rounds of 34s on the North and South courses last year included four birdies. The only blemish on her card was a bogey 4 on No. 5N.
O’Leary and Showalter are also back this year and the three will be joined in the championship flight by Superior’s Pat Kelly; Esko's Sami Mattson; and Duluth's Amy Patenaude, Diana Mueller, Nicole Frederickson and Hannah Cornwell.
O’Leary has won 11 Nemadji titles and has the lowest handicap among the field at 2.8.
Showalter, who has won six Nemadji titles, is next with a 5.1 handicap. Ronchi’s handicap is 7.
Olson, from Duluth, snapped Deb Mayhew’s run of two straight Renna Rychlak Memorial Senior titles last year with a 79. Mayhew, from Superior, was second at 82.
Olson and Mayhew will be joined in the senior championship flight this year by Jan Maki of Grand Rapids, Minn.
Prior to Mayhew's two-year title run, Olson had won six straight titles senior titles from 2011 to 2015.
“Two things we’re most proud of is how long this tournament has been around and that we are only tournament playing stroke play,” tournament organizer Barb Hoag said. “This is our 73rd tournament and there have been a lot that have fallen by the wayside, but our numbers have been consistent over the past couple of years and hopefully we can continue this upward trend.”
DIVOTS: Forty-two golfers are signed up this year, down from 50 last year. … Eleven courses will be represented this year (Superior, Ashland and Rice Lake in Wisconsin; Duluth, Chisago Lakes, Silver Bay and Proctor in Minnesota; and Thunder Bay, Ontario). … Proceeds from Wednesday’s invitational will support the Superior High School girls golf team and the Salvation Army. … The Nemadji Women’s Golf Club will be collecting cash donations and nonperishable food items at the golf course for a couple of weeks.