Jennifer Elsholz of Grand Rapids (above) won the 2014 GAM Women’s Chammpionship by one shot over Sara Hoffman of Saline, Hannah Pietila of Brighton and Lindsey McPherson of Flushing.
Elsholz captured the title at historic Spring Lake Country Club. Afterwards, she was presented with the Betty Richart Trophy by Richart herself, a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member.
“It’s really exciting to win,” said the University of Toledo golfer. “This is the first thing I’ve won in a while and it feels great.”
Full press release below:
Jennifer Elsholz claims 23rd GAM Women’s Championship presented by the West Michigan Golf Show
SPRING LAKE – Grand Rapids golfer Jennifer Elsholz overcame some early nerves and made a key birdie on the 17th hole at Spring Lake Country Club to win the 23rd GAM Women’s Championship presented by the West Michigan Golf Show.
“It’s really exciting to win,” said the University of Toledo golfer Tuesday after receiving the Betty Richart Trophy from Richart, a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member and GAM official.
“This is the first thing I’ve won in a while and it feels great.”
Elsholz shot a closing 3-over-par 75 to go with her 3-under 69 from Monday for an even-par 144 total and one-shot win over a trio of pursuers – Sarah Hoffman of Saline, Hannah Pietila of Brighton and Lindsey McPherson of Flushing.
McPherson, a Michigan State University golfer, shot 72, Pietila, a University of Tennessee golfer shot 73 and Hoffman, a former Grand Valley State University golfer who is now a nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital, shot 75 to close at 145.
Aya Johnson of Muskegon, a University of Wisconsin golfer, shot 75 for 148. Western Michigan University golfer Kaitlyn Watkins of Frankenmuth shot 75 for 149, and Michigan State golfer Jenny Sritragul shot 74 for 151.
Elsholz, who will be a senior at Toledo, started the final round with consecutive bogeys and then spent the rest of the day trying to avoid thinking and playing match play with Hoffman in her group.
“I didn’t want to get in that mind-set because I knew there were a lot of girls in the field who could go low and pass us,” she said. “After a rocky start I leveled off and got a few birdies under my belt.”
The big birdie at the par 5 17th was set up by an 88-yard wedge shot to eight-feet. She made the putt for birdie just after Hoffman left a birdie putt on the edge of the cup. That pulled her out of what was a four-way tie for the lead at that point.
“I just told myself on that putt at 17 to put a good stroke on it, and luckily I did,” Elsholz said. “This is big for me. Hopefully winning this helps me go on and win some college tournaments this fall.”
Hoffman, 24, said she couldn’t get birdie putts to fall.
“It’s hard to make up any ground without birdies,” she said. “I played well. I just couldn’t get a birdie putt to go on the back nine.”
Pietila, who will be a sophomore at Tennessee, lamented being short by one shot.
“I struggled off the tee today for some reason,” she said. “That cost me at least a shot or two.”
McPherson, who was playing two groups ahead of Elsholz, said she never really knew how close it was for her.
“I was just playing,” she said. “I wish it was one shot better now.”
A field of 82 golfers played in the championship at 103-year-old Spring Lake Country Club.