MADISON — There is healthy rough and then there is "hell-thy" rough — the kind of rough Maggie Leef tries to avoid at all costs.
The Pewaukee golfer did just well enough in that department Tuesday to offset, in her words, "a wobbly short game" and out-duel rival Syd Wells of Menomonie, Mich., to win the rain-shortened Wisconsin Women's State Golf Association Senior Championship at Hawks Landing Golf Club. Leef shot 2-over-par 74 to edge Wells by one shot in what became an 18-hole shootout after the cancellation of Monday's opening round due to wet weather.
"It feels great to win the WWSGA Senior Women’s Championship!" the WSGA Hall of Famer wrote in a text to Wisconsin.Golf. "I’ve not had a win since the (Wisconsin Women's Public Links Golf Association) & WWSGA merged."
And, for awhile, it looked as if Wells would run away with her fifth straight WWSGA Senior Championship.
Wells birdied three holes in a row, starting at No. 4, and shot 3-under 33 on the front nine. That was good for a three-stroke lead over Leef, who started birdie-bogey, picked up another birdie on the par-3 fourth hole but then bogeyed the par-5 ninth hole to make the turn in even-par 36.
"Syd played well, as always," Leef said. "Her scrambling and short game were great."
A Wells bogey at No. 10 trimmed the margin to two shots and, after both golfers birdied the par-5 12th hole, Wells bogeyed two holes in a row to square what had become a two-player affair. Leef dropped a shot with a bogey of her own at No. 15 and, after both bogeyed No. 16, a three-shot swing at the par-4 17th — Wells made a triple-bogey while Leef parred — ultimately decided the outcome.
A Leef bogey at No. 18 accounted for the one-stroke margin.
"Hawks Landing was a true test with HELLthy rough, greens that were rolling beautifully and a few really challenging hole locations," wrote Leef, who hit 10 fairways and 12 greens but took 33 putts in winning the event for the first time since it fell under the WWPLA umbrella in 2012. "I was hitting the ball well, but my short game was a bit wobbly."
Despite Monday's washout, Leef had high praise for the tournament.
"The entire Hawks Landing staff was exceptional — especially considering the additional work caused by all the rain!" she wrote. "Great course, great camaraderie and a 'W' make for a good day!"
|1||Maggie Leef The Legend Clubs||F||+2||74|
|2||Sydney Wells Riverside Golf Club||F||+3||75|
|T3||Amy Gehrke Muskego Lakes CC||F||+10||82|
|T3||Kelly Steen Luck GC||F||+10||82|
|T5||Karen Schmid The Legend Clubs||F||+11||83|
|T5||Pat Roisum Lake Ripley CC||F||+11||83|
|7||Jill Trider Brown County GC||F||+12||84|
|DID NOT FINISH|
|JWD||Katie Falk Milwaukee CC|