FORT WAYNE – Oh, the sacrifices Liz Carlson had to make to win a golf tournament. In this instance, it was her wisdom teeth.
While the 18-year-old graduate of Fremont ran away with the girls’ portion of the High School Invitational at Fort Wayne Country Club on Saturday with an 82 – seven shots ahead of her nearest rival – Trevor Uhl, a junior-to-be at Canterbury who turns 17 Monday, survived a tight field to win the boys’ competition with a 4-over 75.
It was the first time either had played in the tournament that is by invitation only.
Normally, they don’t ask anybody from our area, said Carlson, a three-time NECC champion who will attend Bellarmine University.
But Carlson had an advocate in FWCC member Dr. Rich Miller, who discovered her talent for golf, then took down her telephone number around the same time he was extracting her wisdom teeth.
I was his last patient, Carlson said. He took my wisdom teeth out, then retired.
And Miller said he wanted to make sure that Carlson was asked to play.
Did she ever, even though the start was shaky.
I just plopped it in the water on (No. 9) because I didn’t know how far away, said Carlson. I just kind of hit it. I hit a 3-wood in the water, and I should’ve hit an iron. That was just course management.
As it turned out, no one threatened Carlson. Margaret Fritz of Concordia finished second with an 89, and Snider’s Jessica Peppler had a 90.
I just came out and played my game, Carlson said. I asked my group a lot of questions. I tried to learn the course while playing it.
But for the most part, if you’re hitting the ball good and getting your yardage down correctly, you can play it.
Things weren’t as comfortable for Uhl, one of 11 players who broke 80. Playing partner Spencer Shoemaker of DeKalb was close behind with a 76, as was Triton’s Quinten Carpenter.
Just as Carlson had a bad start to her round, Uhl’s was even worse when he bogeyed his first four holes, beginning with the No. 3 hole, from where he started.
I played even from then on out, said Uhl, who stopped the bogey string with a par on No. 7, then had birdies at 8, 9 and 10.
That got me going. That got the putting going. The putter was a big part of my score. Three out of the four birdies were 30-foot putts.
Uhl didn’t let the four-bogey beginning rattle him.
I just didn’t let it get to me, I guess, he said. Bogey’s not that bad. I just kept telling myself that, and tried to make pars, and got a couple birdies thrown in there.
Especially with the long putts that even surprised Uhl.
The greens out here are really nice. It was easy to get my speed, so I just focused on the line. That helps.