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Larsen and Palmer Come Out on Top at Women’s Spring Open
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Salt Lake City, UT- A gusty and chilly Spring Open had a first-time duo sweep through the competition – winning by 30 points in the tournament’s team modified stableford format.
Sunbrook and Coral Canyon Golf Courses, along with the rest of the field, saw the A-games of Kareen Larsen and Sadie Palmer – the tournament’s winners – on full display. The duo, having never played with each other prior to the event, meshed well, while putting up a winning score of 162 points. After being neck-to-neck after day one with last year’s champs (Annette Gaiotti and Nuny Kham-one), the Larsen-Palmer duo pulled away on day two in what appeared to be tougher playing conditions in St. George.
“It was fun to play,” Larsen said. “I always love these tournaments and love to support the [Utah Golf Association]. It, of course, was fun to play with [Palmer]. The courses were great and the [wind] was trying to go away for us.”
A stableford-type format is different from most tournaments ran by the UGA. Players receive points for the overall score they achieve for each hole they play: double bogey (0), bogey (1), par (2), birdie (4), etc. Following each round, points are added together to determine one’s final score. The highest point total therefore wins – complete opposite of a normal stroke-play event where lower is better.
“The best thing about stableford is that even if you hit an errant tee shot, if you can get it back on to the fairway and hit it on, you can still try to make a par or a bogey and those are both worth points,” Palmer stated. “That’s kind of what I think [Larsen] and I had in the back of our head all week was no matter what, we are going to grind everything out and try to make points.”
In what must have been a roller-coaster event for most, if not all groups, the Larsen-Palmer duo capitalized on every opportunity they had. Though the team wasn’t immune to the occasional bogey or double bogey, they balanced out their mistakes with a plethora of birdies.
Palmer said the two of them were good about being able to shake off bad shots and refocus on the shot in front of them. Having a good attitude was also something that helped the new-found partnership in their quest for the trophy. Having a competitive nature allowed the two to play off each other’s confidence and skills.
“I was mostly the supporting actress,” Larsen said with a giggle. “[Palmer] is very easy going, easy to play with. It [was] good to feed off her confidence.”
In an almost unanimous decision between the two, Larsen’s role was to play safe and conservative – a striped 4-iron down the middle of the fairway every time. Because of Larsen’s reserved action plan, it allowed Palmer to be aggressive. She was given the green light to take a bold line off the tee and attack just about every hole location.
From an operations stand point, the tournament went off without any problems, said Easton Folster, the new Director of Rules and Competitions for the UGA. The tournament, he said, received a lot of support from the lady participants and even from volunteers.
Folster said the women, in general, felt both courses were in great shape and the course pros – Reed McArthur (Sunbrook GC) and Marco Leoni (Coral Canyon GC) – and their staffs did an amazing job in hosting the tournament.
“Obviously, [Jake Miller] has ran a great tournament program over the last number of years,” Folster said. “It is just making sure the transition is seamless [and] the players identify that this is a UGA event and it’s going to be as well ran as it has in the past.”
The UGA expresses its appreciation to all those who were involved: players, staff and volunteers. The tournament went off without a hitch and hopefully it surpassed everyone’s expectations. We here at the UGA can’t wait to return next year and we hope you feel the same!
Tournament Results (Top Three per Flight):
1. Palmer/Larsen: 162 points
2. Gaiotti/Kham-one: 132 Points
3. Hays/Von Bothmer: 84 points
1. Cazier/Granger- 92 points
2. Simkins/White- 86 points
3. Bullard/Cannizzo- 85 points
1. Lundahl/Wahler- 79 points
2. Huiskamp/Vilven- 75 points
T3. Amidan/Gardiner- 73 points
T3. Parks/Roberts- 73 points
T1. Hahnel/Nelson- 63 points
T1. Higgins/Layne- 63 points
3. Carlson/Milbank- 61 points
1. Eliason/Olsen- 51 points
2. Maughan/Nielsen- 50 points
3. Goucher/Tracy- 46 points
CLICK HERE for complete tournament results.