Golf: O’Leary wins in record-setting styleNorma O’Leary of Silver Bay shot a 1-under-par 71, including a blistering 33 on the back nine, to win her ninth Nemadji title by six strokes over another former champion, Deb Showalter of Duluth.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Norma O’Leary of Silver Bay is no stranger to the Northland golf scene, having won countless tournaments while displaying hitting power that defies her small stature.
O’Leary, however, had never accomplished what she did on Wednesday morning at the Nemadji Women’s Invitational.
She shot a 1-under-par 71, including a blistering 33 on the back nine, to win her ninth Nemadji title by six strokes over another former champion, Deb Showalter of Duluth.
O’Leary had never shot a 33 in tournament golf.
“I don’t remember all the wins, but I will always remember this one because of that back nine,” she said.
Playing the East-West course at Nemadji, O’Leary made the turn at 38 before separating herself from the rest of the field. Conditions were cool and overcast, and there was some early rain, but O’Leary said the greens held up well.
She claimed a tap-in birdie on the par 5 No. 11 hole that got her relaxed and feeling good, and then on No. 13, she chipped in for eagle from about 15 yards out.
“That’s when I thought, ‘This is going to be my day,’” O’Leary said.
She had a four-stroke lead over Showalter before getting a birdie on No. 17. Showalter bogeyed No. 18 while O’Leary had a par, accounting for the six-stroke victory, the largest O’Leary ever recalls at the 18-hole Nemadji Women’s Invitational.
“Now I want to beat it,” O’Leary said of the 33.
O’Leary is the manager-superintendent at Silver Bay Golf Course. She turns 50 on Tuesday and was asked if there was still room for improvement, even after shooting a career best.
“Sure,” she said. “Why not?”