By Mark Schmetzer
The TCP River’s Bend team entered this year’s Kent Memorial High Handicap tournament almost on a lark.
The quartet of Beverly Olinger, Ann Delehanty-Koenig, Renetta Morem and Julie Thompson ended up with the spoils, edging the team of Susan Arnold, Vikki Richter, Linda Nurre and Karen Grass by two strokes, 175-177, to win the Gross championship portion of the event on July 26 at Hyde Park Country Club.
(L to R) Julie Thompson, Ann Delahante-Koenig, Bev Olinger, Renetta Morem
“That was totally unexpected,” said Olinger, the team captain. “We just went for fun, and that’s the way we played. I don’t know how we came in first, but we did.”
The team of Ruth Ann Weiss, Tammy Booth, Donna Schmitt and Jane Taylor won a tiebreaker with the team of Nancy Morrissey, Pat Balash, Carolyn Ayers and Robin Kofler to claim the Net title. Both teams finished at 128.
The Kent Memorials 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 upcoming junior golfers. The tournament originally was a net best ball foursome event before evolving into a flighted event at two different courses with gross and net prizes. Competitors in the Kent Low tournament have handicaps of 18.0 or lower while players in the annual Kent Memorial High Handicap tournament range from 18.1 to 34.3.
Olinger couldn’t point to any one specific difference between her winning team and the runner up group.
“I have no idea,” she said. “Like I said, we were just out there for a good time. We had no clue that we were anywhere near winning anything. We never dreamed it would happen. We were very surprised when we came in.
“We had a variation of team members,” she added, volunteering that she’s closing in on 80 years old. “We had a couple of young gals, then one gal kind of in between and then me – the old gal. We all contributed something. There wasn’t one person who outshone everybody else, and that helped win this. It also made it a nice thing.
“That whole day was very nice. It’s always fun to play with other people. I saw a lot of people I played with down through the years.”
(L to R) Donna Schmitt, Ruth Ann Weiss, Tammy Booth, Jane Taylor
Prevailing on a challenging Hyde Park course made it even more satisfying, Olinger said.
“The course was in beautiful shape,” she said. “They have that zoysia grass that makes it feel like you’re playing on a carpet. There weren’t any divots. They’ve changed that course quite a bit over the years. It was very difficult. We all found it very difficult. There were a lot of surprises on holes we didn’t expect. There were lots of things I didn’t remember. It was very challenging.”
One example was what Olinger described as a “ravine” in front of the 16th hole.
“We didn’t know it was there,” she said. “All of our balls disappeared into it and never came up. We were all crawling around in that.”
The winning team received gift certificates to the Hyde Park pro shop and wine glasses, said Olinger, who wouldn’t commit to coming back next year to defend the championship.
“The next thing we’re thinking about is the SHE tournament,” she said, referring to the Tenth Annual Scholarship for Higher Education event, which is scheduled for September 10 at Blue Ash. “Just the four of us being able to do it was nice. These young girls keep asking me to play in this stuff I haven’t played in in a long time. It feels very nice. I feel blessed.”