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The Journal Gazette

  • File Lori Stinson, then 48, won last year's Women's City Golf Tournament.

Friday, July 12, 2019 1:00 am

Unexpected champ back to defend

41 players to tee off today in 89th Women's City

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

8 to watch

1. Brooke Moser: Averaged team-best 76.5 for Southern Indiana

2. Sarah Frazier: Averaged 77.36 as a Dayton freshman

3. Jaycee Bunner: Runner-up last year, plays for Bethel College

4. Lori Stinson: Defending champion

5. Madison Dabagia: Placed fourth at IHSAA state finals

6. Michelle Smith: Five-time champion

7. Danica Swaggerty: Averaged 81.2 for Saint Francis

8. Linnzie Richner: Averaged 81.35 for PFW

They say that the great thing about golf is that you can enjoy it at any age.

Lori Stinson proved last year that you can excel at any age, too.

In an event that had become increasingly dominated by college and high school players, Stinson leveled the field at the City Tournament, leading wire-to-wire and finishing at even-par 216 after 54 holes.

Not bad considering she was 48 and had myriad off-the-course responsibilities, including work as a Realtor, helping out with the Downtown Rotary Club and other charitable endeavors.

Participating in Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association events remains important for Stinson, who will begin defense of her title today against some of northeast Indiana's best young players, as well as several peers, amid the field of 41.

“This is the 89th year (of the City Tournament) and it's always such a great event,” Stinson said. “I think one of the biggest things, having been a part of it since I was about 11 years old, there's so much history in this event, and it's nice to come back and play every year because there's so much history with women's golf in Fort Wayne.

“I've talked about this with (former champion) Michelle Smith. It is a little different now because when we were in high school and college, (golf) was all we were doing. ... Now, there are a lot of different things I'm involved with.”

This year's tournament runs through Sunday at Autumn Ridge Golf Club, which suits Stinson just fine because she plays there with the local chapter of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association.

Bethel College's Jaycee Bunner, who was the runner-up last year at Chestnut Hills at 1 over, is again in the field. Brooke Moser, who was fourth at 7 over, is also in the field, which is deep with talent that includes Sarah Frazier, who plays for the University of Dayton; Saint Francis' Danica Swaggerty; and Madison Dabagia, who plays for Homestead and placed seventh last year.

The senior portion of the tournament runs Saturday and Sunday.

Last year, Stinson may not have seemed the logical front-runner, despite having won the tournament in 1988, 1989 and 1991, but she had rededicated herself off the course and it paid off. She credits work with Quinn Griffing at Apex Golf Lab and Zach Lear at LONGevity Fitness for helping her swing, fitness and strength.

“I didn't have any expectations last year. I had just been working on my game for the first time in a long time,” Stinson said. “It was just fun to go out and compete again. I'd been wanting to do it for a while and hadn't done it. It was fun to get that fire back again and have a chance to play against the best high school and collegiate girls in the area, along with Michelle Smith and Kim Cornman.”

In the wake of college players Sarah Dusman, Courtney Dye and Marissa Singer winning the tournament in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Stinson relied on a mental approach that she had preached while coaching at Trine and Grand Valley State, and as a club professional.

“The biggest thing for me is just being committed and decisive on every shot,” Stinson said. “There are times when you step up to a shot and are thinking about too many things and you need to keep it simple. You need to be committed on every shot and whatever happens, happens. ... I just control what I can control.”

Other former champions in the field include Smith, who won in 1994, 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2014; and Karley Dobis, who won in 2013.

jcohn@jg.net