LIMA – Caitriona Griffin earned a spot in the finals of the championship flight of the 76th edition of the Lima Area Women’s tournament but it was a bittersweet victory for the University of Northwestern Ohio product.
Griffin defeated her fellow Racer teammate Haleigh Gray 4 and 3 in the championship semifinals at Hidden Creek Golf Club on Saturday to garner the opportunity to play for the tournament title. Griffin will face University of Findlay product Jill Schmitmeyer who won in convincing fashion 9 and 8 over Carol Mitchell in the other semifinal match.
The two will tee off at Shawnee Country Club at 2:49 p.m. today.
“It was very difficult,” Griffin said. “We have never played match play against each other even within the team during practice, and she is also one of my best friends so it was really weird. We spent the night together yesterday and had breakfast today and everything. We are like really close and were trying to have fun with it but at the same time it is difficult when you are playing against each other.”
Griffin said she was looking to play steady golf and try to limit her mistakes and understands she will need to do the same against Schmitmeyer.
“I think I am just going to play my game and not focus too much on what she is doing because the pressure could really build up,” Griffin said. “I think I am going to play as well as I possibly can and think more about my score instead of what she is doing.”
After Griffin and Gray halved the first two holes, Griffin gained the advantage when she won the next two holes and then opened up a four-hole lead when she won holes seven and eight.
Gray fought back to win nine and after nine holes, Griffin owned a three-hole lead. That margin grew to five when she took holes 11 and 13 to close in on the win.
Griffin had a rough go of it on No. 14 and Gray took advantage of some errant shots to snare the hole but Griffin wrapped it on the par 3 No. 15 when she parred the hole and Gray bogeyed.
While Gray and Griffin had a tough battle, Schmitmeyer, who has been playing outstanding on the first two days of the tournament, did not let up in her match against Mitchell.
Schmitmeyer won eight of the first nine holes and then won 10th hole to make it an early day for the former St. Marys Memorial standout. In the first two qualifying rounds, Schmitmeyer shot a 68 on the first day at Delphos Country Club and then followed it up with a 71 at Shawnee Country Club on Friday.
“I have worked really hard this summer and at school last year over the winter and having the facilities we had, along with the constant help with the coaches, has really helped my game throughout the season and then translating to this summer I knew some of the things I needed to work on was my short game and fine tuning it,” Schmitmeyer said. “I am happy with my game right now.”
In addition to working on her game, Schmitmeyer said one of the reasons she entered this year’s city event was to play in a tournament.
“Tournament play at any point is going to help you stay competitive. and I didn’t have any tournaments in August so when I saw this was happening I thought I would sign up,” Schmitmeyer said. “I saw it as a great opportunity to get a little competitive play in before school and to have some fun which it has been. All the ladies have been really welcoming and nice. It has been a good time.”
Schmitmeyer is approaching the finals with the same confidence that she has shown in the first three days of competition.
In the first flight open bracket, Connie Shutt defeated Shelly Diepenbrock 2 up and Debora Hemmert won 2 and 1 over Brenda Schimmoeller.
Becky Komminsk and Tamara Pope will square off in the senior flight. Komminsk defeated Joan Whittaker 4 and 3 and Tamara Pope beat Carol Jackson 4 and 2.