The summer of 2020 has been challenging for most people, but Denise Wareham is making the most of it.
Wareham and Unae Mueller were half of a Four Bridges Country Club team that won the Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association Low Kent Low Gross championship in June.
The duo teamed up again on August 17 to win the GCWGA Crystal Bowl Low Handicap Net Championship at Kenwood Country Club’s 18-hole Kenview Course. That left Wareham 2-for-2 in winning GCWGA events since moving to Greater Cincinnati from St. Louis a year ago. Somebody suggested her summer was going well. “Isn’t it?” she agreed with a laugh.
Wareham and Mueller were among a group of teams that squeezed through to championships on a glorious Monday. They needed a scorecard playoff to break a three-way tie for first place.
“We won it on the first round because we had the lowest score on the back nine,” Wareham said. “Unae contributed equally, so that was nice.”
Similarly, the team of Coldstream Country Club’s Joan Lauch and Kenwood’s Pam Carroll survived a scorecard playoff to win the High Handicap Gross Division, while the team of Nancy Morrissey and Robin Kofler from Maketewah Country Club won the High Handicap Net Division after yet another scorecard playoff.
“It was very close – a matter of two points, two strokes, from what I understand,” Lauch said from Connecticut, where she and her brother were working to pack up the house their parents had lived in for 50 years “We were very surprised that we won. The good news is we ham-and-egged it. The holes I didn’t do well on, my partner came through with good strokes
Allison Mayborg and Marti Veddern, playing out of Western Hills Country Club, formed the only team that didn’t need a scorecard playoff to win a division. They emerged as the Low Handicap Gross winners by two strokes. Veddern was playing in place of Karen Hartoin, who was quarantined due to Covid-19 complications. She was fine by August 20.
The Crystal Bowl tournament was the conception of one of Cincinnati’s pioneers in women’s golf. Martha Parker Wilson came from a golfing family, won the Camargo Club Championship in 1951 and 1952, and played in the city championship from 1937 to 1957. She was a devoted member of the GCWGA, serving on the Board from 1949 through 1951 and again in 1956 and 1957. At the fall meeting of the GCWGA in 1951 she suggested that a two-man team from each club playing in a best ball tournament would be “interesting for the 1952 season.” The tournament was a success, was named the Crystal Bowl in 1957 and has grown into one of the GCWGA’s more popular events.
Lauch knew that well enough that, even though she was visiting friends in Colorado and her partner was in Utah when it came time to register, she made sure they were entered. “I had to set my alarm,” she said. “Registration opened at 6 a.m., which was 4 a.m. in Colorado, but I knew it would sell out quickly. I got up and got us registered. Then I went back to bed.” Wareham and Mueller had never played Kenwood before this year’s Crystal Bowl.
“I just moved to Cincinnati,” Wareham, a native of England, said. “Before I arrived here, I asked a friend of mine who’d lived in Cincinnati most of her life for recommendations, and she came up with Kenwood. I’d known about Kenwood for quite a long time, but neither one of us had played it, and we didn’t know what to expect. We just said, ‘Let’s just go and make as much of playing at Kenwood as we can and do the best we can.’
“We found it to be a real challenge,” she added. “Four Bridges is pretty flat. You can see where you’re going all the time. Kenwood is hilly. There are a lot of blind spots, so we just had to do the best we could. The day was beautiful. They had everything ready for us. We didn’t have any expectation of winning. Everybody else found it challenging.”
Wareham’s biggest adjustment was to Kenview’s fast greens, which Lauch also found difficult.
“I have played Kenwood, but it had been a while,” she said. “I hadn’t played there in I don’t know how many years. My partner warned me about the greens. It was something I had to get used to. It was a challenge to slow myself down. That was interesting.
“It really was a surprise to win. We had a good game – a good round on a beautiful course on a beautiful day. We just enjoyed ourselves. It was a fun day. I really enjoyed it. I think the committee did a wonderful job with the preparation and the lunch. It was all done rather nicely and safely.”
By Mark Schmetzer