A quick glance at the Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association Fall Team tournament week-by-week scoring suggests that Week Four was the turning point in a tight Division I competition.

Ellen Shoemaker doesn’t see it that way. The Clovernook Country Club team captain believes week-to-week consistency by her players led to them edging Hamilton Elks, 96-95.5, for the championship. Clovernook steadily worked its way back from ranking third after Week One to taking the lead after Week Four at Miami View and holding off Hamilton Elks in Week Five at Kenwood to capture the division championship, one year after claiming the Division II title and earning the promotion to Division I. Clovernook finished third or better every week.

“It was fun,” Shoemaker said. “We didn’t have a bad week. To me, it’s amazing that, over the course of five weeks, a half-point separates one and two. That’s a putt that drops or a putt that doesn’t drop.” Ivy Hills rolled to the Division II championship, winning Week One by seven points on the way to a 112.5-98.5 margin over Maketewah. Oasis pulled away from the field to finish 10 points ahead of Camargo and win the Division III championship. In a Division IV tournament scaled down to three weeks, Heritage came from behind in the third week to pull out a 59.5-56.5 win over Summit Hills.

The team title is Heritage’s first, team captain Carol Pecord said. “Heritage is a very small club, and we’ve had trouble fielding teams,” Pecord said. “Luckily, we’ve built up, and we were able to get some of the new girls in the competition. Two of the girls didn’t compete last year, but they decided to play this year.”

Pecord teamed up with Lisa Hayner, Li Burk and Steffanie Lennon to help Heritage finish seven points ahead of Summit Hills at O’Bannon Creek in Week Three. The team captain believes O’Bannon played to her team’s strengths. “Definitely,” she said. “We have some long hitters. O’Bannon has lakes, which I never got over. I think it met their strengths.”

The Ivy Hills team capitalized on playing on its home course in Week One to beat Stillmeadow, 27-20, and never looked back on the way to the Division II win. “That’s always an advantage,” Ivy Hills team member Denise Meismer said about playing at home. “Our course is very different. It’s hilly with uneven lies. I didn’t play that week, but I understand that Carole Hastings played exceptionally well that day. “We had a strong team this year,” Meismer added. “Hats off to (team captain) Diana Oberschmidt for putting it together.”

The Ivy Hills crew didn’t indulge in any overexuberant celebration, settling for the simple joy of winning and moving up to Division I. “We didn’t pour any champagne,” Meismer said. “We were excited. It’s always nice to win a division. We were thrilled for the win and for bringing it back to Ivy Hills. Division I is a really strong division. There are a lot of really strong clubs in Division I. We’re excited for the opportunity.”

Like Ivy Hills, Clovernook took advantage of playing on its home course in Week Two to start climbing out of the third-place, 3.5-point hole it faced after Week One. The Clovernook team won Week Two and finished third by one-half point behind Elks and Tournament Players Club in Week Three before tying Wetherington for the Week Four win and, at the same time, easing past Elks to go into Week Five in first place. Elks had the misfortune of playing Miami View on its home course in Week Four. Those two teams tied for third, two points behind the week’s co-winners.

“We got lucky, I guess,” Shoemaker said. “Hamilton Elks played Miami View. I think that probably had something to do with us accumulating more points. It’s always tough to play the home team. They got homered.” Clovernook and Hamilton Elks went head-to-head in Week Five and were among four teams to finish with 18 points each. That was all Clovernook needed to clinch the 2020 title.

“We were just happy to be in Division I after winning Division II last season,” Shoemaker said. The Clovernook crew was just as happy about being able to play after the Spring Team competition was cancelled because the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s always fun to get out there, but we were extremely happy when we heard the Fall Team was going on,” Shoemaker said.

“It was a fun season,” echoed Meismer. “It’s really nice that the GCWGA has these types of leagues for the ladies. It’s really nice to be able to play against the other clubs and the other ladies and to have some competition, but it was extra special this year.”

By Mark Schmetzer