Eventual winner Karen Feldman and runner-up Pat Mayne were in unfamiliar roles, but it didn’t spoil their friendship.
Feldman and Mayne, the Capital Region’s most prolific women’s best-ball tandem, experienced a strange turn of events when they ended up squaring off in a playoff for the Northeastern Women’s Golf Association Championship Monday at Western Turnpike Golf Club.
Feldman, the opening-round leader from Olde Kinderhook, shot a seven-over-par 79 and thought she had wrapped up her first NEWGA crown until Mayne, playing in another group, came home with a 75 to tie Feldman with a two-day total of 157.
Originally, Mayne thought she had a 76, but she added up her score wrong, and was surprised to find out she was in a playoff with one of her best friends and constant playing partner.
Feldman still got the last laugh, however, sinking an eight-foot birdie on the first extra hole to secure her first individual major championship.
Feldman split the fairway with her tee shot on the playoff hole and then hit her approach just short of the green. It bounced up perfectly and nestled just eight feet past the cup.
Mayne, a three-time NEWGA champion from the host club, boomed a huge drive on the playoff hole and landed her 80-yard sand wedge shot to within just five feet.
But after Feldman sank her birdie putt, Mayne’s putt lacked just a little speed and drifted about an inch or so to the right of the cup.
“I played better today, tee to green, than I did yesterday,” said Feldman, a former professional tennis player. “But I just didn’t score as well. I hit 12 of 14 fairways, and I also hit 10 greens, plus another three that were on the fringe. It seemed like I was putting for birdie on every hole.”
But Feldman sank only one birdie putt in regulation, a 30-foot curler on the second hole of the red nine.
“I made a lot of very steady two-putts today,” she said. “I had 32 putts in the round, including 14 on the red nine and 18 on the blue. My only problems were a couple of double bogeys. I was four-over-par on my first three holes. But I wasn’t that concerned, because not only am I usually a slow starter, but this is one of those years where I’ve been playing so well that I had the confidence that I would come back.
“The key was that I stayed patient the whole round,” Feldman said. “In the past, I would play one good round, and then something would happen in the other round. I was more consistent this year.”
Ironically, Feldman said this has been one of the best years that she and Mayne have had in best-ball competition.
“We’ve won five or six invitationals this year. I think about the only one we didn’t win together was the Capital District Women’s Open,” she said. “We’ve both been playing so well individually and together.
“I’ve been working with my pro, Phil Kaminski, and he’s helped my game quite a bit. Plus, I’ve got a new Scotty Cameron putter that I cut down to 33 inches from 35. I’m putting lights-out now. I’m also hitting my irons much better.”
Mayne bounced back from a horrific opening round to earn a spot in the playoff.
“I had to make up a lot of shots after I shot an 82 in the first round,” Mayne said. “I had a 12 on the fifth hole [Monday], and I also had two other unplayable lies. But today, I played much better. I made a
couple of birdies, on the second and ninth holes, and I played much better overall.
“To tell you the truth, it was tough to get back in playing mode again after I thought I had already lost by one shot. When we added up the score again, we realized I had tied and we had to have the playoff.
“I made a good shot in the playoff, and I needed a bit more speed to make that last putt. But I always root for Karen when she’s playing, and Karen always roots for me. If I didn’t win, I’m glad Karen did.”
x-Karen Feldman (Olde Kinderhook) 79-157; Pat Mayne (Western Turnpike) 75-157; Penny Schiek (Hiland) 82-161; Ella Kellogg (Hiland) 81-162; Gail Brophy (Saratoga National) 79-162; Mary Ellen Burt (Mohawk) 83-172. x-won playoff on first extra hole.
Kathy Canestrini (Western Turnpike) 85-166; Diana Ramos (Pinehaven) 84-167; Sue Chambers (Western Turnpike) 82-167; Linda Kolnick (Cobleskill) 87-172.
Mary Ann Keeler (Western Turnpike) 87-173; Sandra Weckter (Pinehaven) 87-176; Amy Fey (Western Turnpike) 92-182; Linda Hudson (Wiltwyck) 95-182; Mary Corrigan (Western Turnpike) 92-185; Elaine Neiss (Western Turnpike) 89-187; Darlene Downing (Cobleskill) 94-197; Melody Diamond (Cobleskill) 94-94-201.
Carol Burke (Burden Lake) 84-172; Leona DeLong (Burden Lake) 93-185; Mary Assey (Ballston Spa) 96-188; Debra Cottrell (Ballston Spa) 100-199; Donna Heskett (Burden Lake) 100-201; Betty Heller (Burden Lake) 101-210; Joan Taylor (Ballston Spa) 103-211.