White wins 97th Spring Lake Invitational

Duncan MacLean • Jun 21, 2018 at 6:54 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — Sarah White had no interest in allowing Thursday's championship match to stretch into the final two holes.

Capitalizing on two rare miscues off the tee by hometown standout Anna Kramer, White grabbed a three-hole lead heading into the sixteenth hole at Spring Lake Country Club.

The 103-yard par 3 was a precarious opportunity to close out what had been a grueling match of back-and-forth play. A solid tee shot for a look at birdie could close out Kramer for good, denying her a chance to heat up on the final two holes. Too much risk and the elevated green could spell disaster for the Texas State player.

White stuck to the swing that had earned her birdies on the two holes prior, planting her tee shot six inches from the pin, all but guaranteeing a birdie. Kramer responded with a shot to the edge of the green. While her distance putting had been strong all day, it wasn't close enough to force a 17th hole, granting White the Invitational title in her second crack at the tournament.

"I finished birdie, birdie, birdie sticking with the same swing," White said. "I knew I just had to get it on the green on 16 and not get fancy. You can't get too cute when you are up three with three to go. I just trusted in my ability and stuck with the same swing.

"It feels really good to win it. I've been working really hard. It is a grind. Holding a job, working out, trying to play and practice golf all at once is hard, so it is nice when all the work comes together and pays off.

"It came down to who can hit the shots when they count. Today was my day, but Anna could beat me any other day this week."

Points were hard to come by throughout the match with the two finalists tying 10 of the 16 holes. Kramer took a lead with an opening hole win and held it through most of the front nine. White had a few opportunities to even the score early, but struggled to sink the necessary putts.

"I was pretty frustrated through the first six holes, because I was missing so many birdie putts within five feet," White said. "I just kept reminding myself, ‘You aren't going to hit them all. There is a lot of holes left.'

"I was hitting the ball so well, I thought the putts would fall eventually."

The tide turned on the first par 5 of the round, as Kramer lipped a putt, allowing White to bring the match back to even. From there, it was pedal to the metal for the visitor, as she took the eighth hole to go up to go 1-up at the turn and accelerated through the end of the round.

"When I went up one on eight, I thought, ‘All right, no backing down," White said. "She kept firing back what I was bringing. It was such a good match going shot-for-shot the whole way. It was fun."

Kramer was able to push the first four holes of the back nine, but White's impressive power off the tee and a few miscues for Kramer made the difference down the stretch.

"It was more of a strategic last couple of holes. I knew the pressure was on her," White said. "I had some good numbers, and I knew what I had to do."

"We have played before in match play, so I knew it was going to be a fun round," Kramer said. "I didn't play bad, but I just had a few unfortunate bogeys at the end. I had two unfortunate drives on 14 and 15 and she made a bunch of birdies to finish the round. She just wasn't missing a shot.

"I knew coming in it would probably be a match of who could make the most birdies, and it was. Her putting was really good in the end. She only missed, like, one fairway all day and pretty much hit every green. She played really well, she deserves the win."

Kramer didn't leave empty handed from her first go around at the invite, taking home hardware for her runner-up finish and qualifying round medalist finish.

"I didn't know you got a trophy for being medalist," she said. "It's a really pretty trophy, so that's exciting. It was a really fun tournament; I'll probably play in it again next year. I play well here at my home course. I'm more relaxed knowing the greens and misses well."

The subsequent flight championships were not short on drama. Spring Lake's Kayla Krueger took the first-flight title, defeating Joan Garety by a score of 4 & 2. Cindy Obermeyer defeated Pam Tyler in the second flight, 4 & 3. In the third flight, Suzanne Faunce took a big victory over Margaret Nault, 6 & 5.

The fourth flight came down to the wire with Olivia Bayagich defeating Kim Noe, 3 & 2. Doree Hall took the fifth-flight title with a 5 & 4 victory over Suzanne Reinhold.

The sixth flight provided the marathon match of the day as Suzanne Madej defeated Gail Miller after 19 holes. Kate Clark took the eighth flight, 2-up, over Linda Dane, while Anna Smith rounded out the tournament with a ninth-flight victory over Barbara Coury, 5 & 4.

Looking ahead, Spring Lake Country Club will host the 98th Spring Lake Invitational Tournament as scheduled next year during the customary week following Father's Day. Additionally, the club will play host to the Women's Amateur Championship, returning for the first time since 2015.

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