By Mark Schmetzer
Winning the High Kent Net championship is becoming a habit for Melissa Wink and Meghan Cole.
The pair teamed up with Michelle Jones and Jen Stuhlreyer to win the 2021 High Kent Net title at Four Bridges Country Club.
This year, on July 11 at Stillmeadow Country Club, the Kenwood Country Club pair played with club mates Diane Herndon and Linda Pruis to shoot a combined 10-under 130 and tie for the Net
Championship with the mixed team of Ginger Lippmeier-Suarez, Alicia Gerlinger, Debbie Lach and Katie Robertson.
That wasn’t the only close finish in this year’s High Kent. The Suarez-Lippmeier team needed a tiebreaker to edge the Western Hills Country Club squad of Barb Trotta, Julie Inman, Amy Lambrinides and Susan McBeath for the High Kent Gross championship. Both teams ended regulation play at 29-over 169.
Suarez-Lippmeier is a member at Stillmeadow and Kenwood. Gerlinger, Lach and Robertson all play out of Kenwood.
Suarez-Lippmeier wasn’t sure about the tiebreaker procedure that led to her team’s title.
“I think they did it on the par-5 17, but I’m not really positive about it,” she said. “The pro said something to me. I liked that hole. I parred it. I’m not sure what they used as a tiebreaker, but that was awesome.”
The High Kent and its counterpart, the Low Kent, were created in the mid-1950s in honor of Mrs. Sydney B. Kent, a long-time Cincinnati Country Club and Women’s Western Golf Association board member who maintained in her life a keen interest in teaching ethics, courtesies and rules of the game to junior golfers. The tournament originally was a net best-ball foursome before evolving into flighted events at two different courses with gross and net prizes.
Wink and her teammates were so focused on just playing each hole that they didn’t realize at first that they had won.
“They give a lunch afterward,” she said from Minnesota. “They have an award presentation for the girls who are getting scholarships and going on to college. They all got up and told us where they’re going and how they’ll continue to play golf, though not necessarily for their college teams. At the conclusion of the event, they gave out trophies. They gave us wine chillers. That was a nice little gift. “Kenwood had a nice turnout there, so we took some pictures.”
Suarez-Lippmeier and her teammates similarly weren’t sure as they toured the course how the scoring was shaping up.
“You don’t really know,” she said. “I’m an old scorekeeper. I’ve kept score at basketball games and for my brother’s softball games. You keep a running score while you play, but you don’t know what’s going on while you’re out on the course. You might have a good feel for it or something.
“You don’t know what anybody’s going to shoot. What you try to do is get two out of four good scores on each hole. We all took turns playing good on each hole. I think we all just played our game. We were lucky enough that, on every hole, two of us had a good score. We all didn’t blow up on one hole.”
Wink was proud of helping her team prevail at what, for her, was a new course. “That was my first time at Stillmeadow,” she said. “I found it to be a challenge. We were joking that it should be called ‘Stilllakes,’ because there’s so much water.
“We were just playing it one hole at a time. When you’re out there, you really don’t take into account how you’re doing. You’re just trying to play each hole. That’s the nature of golf.”
“I always think there’s not that much water,” Suarez-Lippmeier said. “There are little creeks that come across holes. On No. 1, you have to tee off over the lake. There are some par 3s where you have to hit over water. Other holes have those creeks. The par 3s are the hardest. On 16, it’s down low, but you have to hit it way up.”
Suarez-Lippmeier suspects that being a Stillmeadow member gave her team an edge. “I could tell them to stay right or stay left,” she said. “Sometimes, you have to know how far to hit it. You might have to carry a little creek. It might say it’s 112, but you have to hit it 125. I think that’s where I learned how to play golf. It’s not a flat course. “Stillmeadow was in great shape,” she added. “The greens were in great shape. Give them kudos.”
Temperatures approached 90 degrees as the day went on, and Wink and the other golfers were grateful for one of the amenities provided by Stillmeadow.
“It was a pretty warm day – one of the hottest on record, I think,” she recalled. “Stillmeadow did a nice job. They had cold towels soaked in ice with lavender smells so you could cool down.”