Juli Inkster Wins The Legends Championship, Jan Stephenson Captures Super Legends

Julie Inkster and Jan Stephenson, winners at the The Legends Championship in French Lick, Indiana

Julie Inkster and Jan Stephenson, winners at the The Legends Championship in French Lick, Indiana

LPGA Legend Juli Inkster Wins The Legends Championship, Jan Stephenson Captures Super Legends

FRENCH LICK, Ind. – Two of the greatest names in the history of women’s golf were champions again on Sunday in The Legends Championship, played on the rugged Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort.

Juli Inkster won the main tournament for players who have passed their 45th birthday. Jan Stephenson took the Super Legends title, an eight-player competition for past stars who have passed their 63rd birthday.

The titles both represented milestones for players who have already achieved so much as LPGA competitors. Inkster won for the first time on the Legends circuit after finishing second in her previous two tournaments. Stephenson, who recently turned 63, triumphed in her first Super Legends event.

Inkster carded a 4-under-par 68 on Sunday, giving her a 36-hole total of 5-under 139 for the tournament and a one-shot win over Trish Johnson. Stephenson, playing from slightly shorter tees, finished even par 144 for the tournament and won by eight over her playing partner, Judy Dickinson.

“Winning can never get old,” said Stephenson. “Competing with Juli is impossible for me now, so this was so much fun. And it was really emotional for me. It was for my mom. She passed away earlier in the month.”

Stephenson debated playing in the more lucrative division, but decided that making her debut in the Super Legends Division made more sense.
“I’ll probably go back and forth, but this was such a hard golf course and it was our big championship,” she said. “I really wanted the trophy to jump out of the box. Plus, I had to go back to Australia and didn’t practice. I only arrived back this week. I didn’t feel match-fit.”

Winning the trophy in her Super Legends debut was a satisfying reward, but Inkster was the big winner. She took home a check for $37,500 from the event’s $300,000 purse. Stephenson’s winning check was for $5,000.

Inkster has been focusing on her duties as the U.S. Solheim Cup captain, and she hopes her victory will inspire her team against the Europeans in the upcoming matches in Germany.

“If a 55-year old can win, they can, too,” said Inkster. “This has been a tough year, and I’m really tired right now. I have an outing Tuesday in Detroit then I’ll be home for a week.”

Before the Solheim Cup, however, she’ll take on her LPGA rivals in one of that circuit’s biggest events – the Evian Masters.

Inkster, in the next-to-the-last group, got her game together on the back nine, just in time to hold off Johnson who was playing in the final twosome. They had gone into the final round tied for the lead with Johnson’s playing partner, Dame Laura Davies.

“I wasn’t playing very well on the front side,” said Inkster, “but I birdied 13, 15, 17 and 18. That won the tournament for me. I stayed patient and started hitting it a lot better. I had no idea where I was in the tournament. I just tried to keep making birdies. It was good to win. I feel good.”

The Inkster-Johnson duel came down to the final two holes. Inkster hit the par-4 17th with a 3-wood and 9-iron, setting up a birdie putt. Johnson made birdie behind her. Light rain started to fall as Inkster made her birdie and continued as she played No. 18, a par-5. She got up and down for her final birdie there, then the rain got heavier. That didn’t help Johnson, who three-putted the finishing hole for a bogey.

That handed the title to Inkster, whose 68 was the best round of the day. Johnson and Pat Hurst, who tied with 2013 champion Lori Kane for third place, both shot 69s on Sunday. Laurie Rinker, the defending champion, made an early run with three birdies on her first eight holes before dropping back. She finished eight strokes back in a tie for 12th.

To view the full leaderboard visit:
http://leaderboard.thelegendstour.com/?TID=61

Highlights From Inkster’s Final Round

Golf Equipment Sale On Woot!

There is lots of golf equipment on sale right now at Woot! at prices ranging from 30% to 77% off list. (Scroll down the bottom of Woot’ home page to find them.) Among the sale items:

  • TaylorMade Speedblade Iron Sets at 41% off
  • TaylorMade Hybrids at 34% off
  • TaylorMade SLDR Drivers at 41% off
  • TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Woods at 41% off
  • TaylorMade SLDR S Mini Driver at $41% off
  • Callaway RAZR Edge Cart Bag
  • Various reconditioned golf balls from Callaway, Nike, Titleist TaylorMade and Srixon

This seems like a good time to stock up. Or perhaps buy a couple dozen for a Christmas gift for the golfer in your life.

 

Harbor Shores Ninth Hole

The par five ninth at Harbor Shores

The par five ninth at Harbor Shores

As my last “fling” of the summer, I drove to the west side of the state to play Harbor Shores, a Jack Nicklaus Design that has hosted Senior PGA Championships. Harbor Shores is consistently rated in “Best of Michigan Golf” lists.

I’ll have a full review soon.

Golf Key Rack


Iron Golf Key Rack Holder – Black Metal

 
Ridiculous Golf Item of the Week

The Three Hour Nine At Tanglewood

Bad management at Tanglewood led to appallingly slow play.

Bad management decisions at Tanglewood led to appallingly slow play.

On Wednesday, I got out to play a morning nine at Tanglewood in South Lyon. Paired with another single, I teed off at 7:35. Mark and I played the North nine at Tanglewood in just over an hour.

Then we made turn and discovered that management had inserted a half dozen groups on the South ahead of us. When we arrived at the par three eleventh, there were three groups on the tee, and two more we could see putzing around on the twelfth. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, we joined the group immediately ahead of us, who also had made the turn only to hit the management-inflicted wall.

I have long believed that there are two felony offenses in golf: being a slow player, and being a bad player. The key is to not commit both these crimes at the same time.

If there were Golf Cops issuing citations and a Golf Court handing down judgment, the old ladies in these groups would be given life sentences for multiple golf felonies. (I do not mean to be sexist or ageist here, merely descriptive. If they had been young men, my complaint would be the same). They chunked their way down fairways in fifteen yard increments. All four would stand by in their carts while one hit and then they would proceed to the next ball. On the greens, they just stood around and talked.

In the end, it took just over three hours to play holes eleven through eighteen. My first partner, Mark, quit after the thirteenth. He couldn’t take it any more. Our little group was joined by another victim of Tanglewood management’s inconsiderate scheduling on the fourteenth.

We could see two other groups behind us. I just hope that they saw the human traffic jam ahead of us and applied the blame in the correct direction.

I simply cannot fathom the thought process that led the manager and starter to put a half dozen slow groups out ahead of people making turn. First Mark, and then I called the clubhouse to implore for a ranger to come out speed things up. Eventually, they sent a high school kid, who said that there wasn’t anything he could do because we had “played the front nine too fast.”

Too fast? People sign up for early tee times so that they can play quickly and get home. Inserting groups at the turn — and especially slow groups — is unforgivable. Clubhouse management and the starter HAD to know that those ladies were going to play like molasses running uphill in January. My guess is that they are a regular group.

Actually, I CAN fathom why management jammed everyone up at the turn: greed. There were open tees waiting for players who started on the North, so why not fill them up with more paying customers?. And if the people who are making the turn get jammed, who cares? Tanglewood already had their money.

The whole scene was appalling and for that reason it is unlikely I will ever return to Tanglewood.