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Hansen on the prowl at Spring Lake Invitational Tournament

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 10:59 AM

“Today was really good,” Hansen said after she won her quarterfinal match over Donna Benford, 5 and 3, in the Championship Flight of the 90th annual women’s golf tournament at Spring Lake Country Club. “I’ve got a new set of irons, which has made a big difference. We just figured out my last set was an inch too long. We ordered a men’s regular thinking they’d be an inch short. I now feel I’ve got to know them and I’m a lot more comfortable. I had to club up every shot today, but if it’s working, then that’s what I have to do.”

Hansen set herself up with a birdie opportunity on a tough par-4 No. 14, making good use of her wedge with a nice save out of the green-side bunker for a 2-foot putt. She drained the ensuing putt, propeling her further on the path to victory.

Hansen, who earned Division 1 all-state honors following both her junior and senior seasons at Grand Haven, is now the No. 3 golfer on the University of Detroit women’s golf team. The Titans won a Horizon League championship during her freshman year, and were second last season.

“I love it,” said Hansen, who is pursuing a nursing major. “It’s nice to have girls around me who take the game as seriously as I do. It’s nice to have that constant competition.”

Hansen said she’s playing in the TaylorMade/Adidas Collegiate Golf Series as well as a few other tournaments this summer, while balancing a co-op position as a nurse’s aide at North Ottawa Community Hospital.

She’s also been impressed with the competition at the SLIT, including the challenge she received from Benford, the tournament’s champion in 1999.

“I’m the youngest one here, so it’s a little different,” Hansen said. “But it’s nice to see ladies that age who are so passionate about the game. Plus, they’re really, really good.”

Hansen qualified for the Championship Flight before her senior year of high school three years ago, but lost in the semifinals. She hopes to advance to the finals today, as she challenges Laura Monea, who defeated Jean Steinbacher on Tuesday, 2 and 1.

In the other half of the Championshp Flight semifinal, defending champion Maureen Whitehead is still alive and swinging. She eliminated another former champion, Barb Schmid, 4 and 2. She’ll now meet Paw Paw native Leslie Fletcher, who took out another Kalamazoo-area player in the quarterfinals, Chris Zeigler, 3 and 2.

Fletcher, who has won all four major tournament titles in the Kalamazoo Women’s Golf Association, is making just her second apperance at the SLIT.

“I’ve received invitations from them in the past, but I really never was able to make it here until last year,” she said. “This is a great run tournament. And the course; it’s just beautiful. It’s in gorgeous condition.”

Frazier said she struggled at the SLIT last year, but re-dedicated herself to the game over the winter, working extensively on her swing with a personal coach.

“The last three days, I’ve really noticed the difference,” she said. “I hope I can keep it up.”

Frazier said the solution is simple to dethrone Whitehead.

“I need to make some birdies. I only had two today,” she said. “I was watching her out there today, and she’s very sound.”

Hansen isn’t the only young player making a name for herself at the SLIT.

In the third flight, 2009 Spring Lake graduate Emily Rosencrants defeated Spring Lake Country Club member Michele Yasenak in 19 holes. Rosencrants will take on Deb Rogers in the flight’s semifinals today, after Rogers defeated SLCC member Laura Fri, 4 and 2.

Reigning SLCC women’s champion Kathy Eisenga was defeated in the First Flight by Jayne VanderMolen, 5 and 3. Other winners in the flight included Carol Elias, Susan Campbell and Joan Garety.

SLCC’s Karen Sherwood was victorious in the Sixth Flight, taking care of Terry Deisler, 6 and 5.

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