Esky’s Scott repeats senior ladies’ title

JoAnn Poncino chips on the 18th green Monday in the UP Ladies Golf Association Senior Championships at Pine Grove Country Club in Iron Mountain. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Escanaba’s Barb Scott likes her success rate in the UP Ladies Golf Association Senior Championships.

“Two for two,” Scott said. “I guess I ought to keep playing.”

In her first quest last year to win a senior title, Scott rallied in the final holes to stun two-time senior champion Syd Wells at Escanaba Country Club,

In Monday’s 31st annual senior ladies championship at Pine Grove Country Club, Scott repeated as champion by turning back newcomer Kate Steider of Manistique.

Scott, helped by a two-over par 38 on the front nine, finished with an 83. Steider, playing in her first LPGA individual event of any kind, tallied an 84.

“I played really good on the front,” Scott said. “I had some nice up and downs.

“That 38 on the front was better than I expected. I was hoping to get in the low 80s and shooting that score was a bonus.”

A couple double bogeys sent Scott’s second-nine results to 45.

“The back I struggled a little bit and I got tentative, especially on my putting,” Scott said. “I putted well on the front.”

The title may have come down to Scott’s lone birdie on the day, holing out a 20-yard chip shot on the par-four seventh.

“I hit a good drive but my second shot wasn’t very good,” said Scott, who played earlier this year at Pine Grove in the UPLGA’s best ball-scramble major. “But I knew where you had to hit it. It was one of those that looked good all the way.”

Steider wasn’t sure if she’d finish second or 77th Monday in her first tournament since a teen-ager in Minnesota. She gave up golf for 24 years and has returned to the game over the last few years.

“My expectations were nothing for the day,” said Steider, who was playing Pine Grove for the first time. “I didn’t know about my nerves. I’ve never played anything that was important.

“But I had a great day.”

With back problems sidelining Wells, Scott and Steider played in the opening group with Lori Shea of Gladstone. They wasted little time in completing their round.

“I prefer to play fast,” said Scott, adding that UP women’s champion Paxton Johnson of Escanaba also moves at a fast pace. “I’m not quite as fast as Paxton. It’s kind of nice we have the senior and regular UP champions in Escanaba.”

Hot and humid weather also kept the No. 1 group on the go.

“We played so fast,” Scott said. “Thank god we weren’t sitting out their waiting at al.”

As for Steider, she doesn’t even have time for practice swings.

“I play real quick,” Steider said. “There’s no sense in over-thinking.

“It was a good first experience. None of us lost a ball. Both Barb and Lori were great to play with.”

Putting problems hindered Steider while Scott had to deal with Pine Grove’s size.

“This place is beautiful but it’s long,” Scott said. “I don’t hit a real long ball.”

Scott took the age 55-59 division along with overall gross honors in the one-day, 18-hole event. Steider was the age 50-54 winner. Five-time senior champion Karen Plaisier of Ishpemng shot an 85 for third and first among age 65-69 golfers.

Shea and Iron Mountain’s Jean Constantini shared fourth at 88. Iron Mountain’s Wendy Schuelke, Norway’s Leah Skoglund and Wakefield’s Nancy Osier each had 90.

Iron Mountain’s Joy Carlson was the overall net champion at 68 (minus handicap). Constantini was next at 70.

The 2019 senior tournament will be at Menominee Riverside.

“That’ll be tough to beat Syd at her home course,” Scott said. “She’s quite a competitor.”