By Mark Schmetzer
Emily Stipanovich might’ve carved out a little bit of history for herself on July 23.
Stipanovich, playing at Hyde Park Golf and Country Club out of Terrace Park Country Club, earned her second Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Tournament championship in the 104th edition of the event on July 22-23.
The Western Pennsylvania native and former Xavier player, who won the 2014 championship, also became the first golfer to win championships under the old four-day, medal-match play format and this year’s new, two-day, medal-only format.
“There you go,” she said a few days after edging Pebble Creek’s Gina Bamberger by one stroke and World of Golf’s Susan Glasby by two.
A total of 50 women competed in this year’s event. Aston Oaks Golf Club’s Karly Egbers came up with the tournament’s only eagle on her way to shooting 90-84 – 174 and winning Flight Two. Sharon Woods’ Carolyn Mindel needed one playoff hole to squeeze past Hidden Valley Golf Club’s Sharon Voelker and capture the overall Seniors championship and the Joan Comisar Flight title. Unae Mueller of Four Bridges Country Club caught fire on the second day to finish 107-90 – 197 and win the Judy Diem Hayes Flight. Her second-day 90 was six strokes better than the next-best score.
The top of the Seniors leader board was even more crowded than the younger players’ lineup. Hyde Park’s Maryanny Cardone shot an 88-90 – 178 to finish one stroke shy of making it a three-way playoff. Clovernook Country Club’s Leslie Huesman shot a 95-84 – 179, while Cincinnati Country Club’s Betsy Coith came in at 93-87 – 180.
Stipanovich’s title capped an eventful four days for her. She opened play on July 22 fresh off winning he club’s championship, which helped her get her game on track for the Met.
“I had been playing really well until we had those all of those torrential rains in June,” said the left-hander, who reached the semifinals twice before breaking through in 2014 at Four Bridges. “I didn’t play for 10 days, and I lost it for a couple of weeks. It started to come back that weekend. I putted a lot better on Sunday and hit my irons pretty well.”
Bamberger shot a 1-over par 75 on the first day to take leads of one stroke lead over Stipanovich and two over Glasby into Day Two. The three were grouped together for the second day and got to know each other.
“I had never met them before,” Stipanovioch said. “I got to know them from chatting as we were walking. I think they’re both relatively new to the Cincinnati area. Gina told me she and her husband have just moved here from California. Susan is originally from Australia. She moved here for work.”
The second-day competition, played out in weather that was gorgeous as the first day’s was miserable, was heated.
“I was two up going into the back, and it was kind of pretty even from there,” she said. “I made a lot of pars. I took a seven on 14, and that was fun, but then Gina took a double bogey on 12, and that was also a lot of fun.
“You could go up from two up to one down in 20 minutes. Golf is fickle.
“I needed to make a 10-footer for par on the last hole,” she added. “Thankfully, I made it or we would have had to go to a playoff.”
Stipanovich might’ve gained a slight advantage from being able to scope out Hyde Park before the tournament thanks to CBank President and club member Dean Meiszer.
“That was very helpful to me,” said Stipanovich, a CBank vice president. “He and I went out in cart and we were able to pick lines. That was helpful.”
Winning the championship helped Stipanovich adjust to the new format, but she admitted to missing the old match-play setup.
“I enjoy match play,” she said. “I think it’s a good test, but the change was good for me, definitely.”