By Greg Johnson
(ANN ARBOR, MI) – Anna Kramer of Spring Lake, MI, made a par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to turn back Morgan Smith of Muskegon and win the 25th Golf Association of Michigan Women’s Championship, presented by GolfWeek, Tuesday at Polo Fields Golf and Country Club in Ann Arbor.
Kramer, 17, a senior-to-be at Spring Lake High School, was able to clear a green-fronting bunker on the downhill par 4 No. 18 and two-putt for par from the back fringe. Smith, 22, a senior-to-be at Oakland University, hit her second shot in the bunker and couldn’t save par.
“That’s really a tough shot,” Kramer said of the short approach on 18. “It’s downhill, the green is down, and it’s a hard green to hold. I just cleared that bunker and the ball kept rolling to the back.”
Kramer, who was the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 individual state champion, and part of the Spring Lake team that won its second consecutive state team title, couldn’t fight off the tears after winning. She had fired a final 4-over 76 to check in at 148, while Smith shot 73 for 148 to set up the playoff.
“I cried my tears of joy for a little bit because I’ve been working and waiting for my tournament; the one I was going to win,” Kramer said. “It made me really happy, and it’s got to be the biggest that I have won because I was playing against all these great college players.”
Michigan State golfer Jacqueline Setas of East Lansing and University of Akron golfer Pader Her of Lansing tied for third at 149, one shot out of the playoff. Setas closed with a 76 and Her shot 77.
Sarah White of Caledonia, a Western Michigan University golfer, shot 76 for 150 to round out the top five.
Kramer, a quarterfinalist in last year’s Michigan Women’s Amateur, said she came off the course in regulation play extremely disappointed.
“I had made bogeys on my last three holes and I had burned the edge of the cup with a par putt on 18,” she said. “I had kind of a bad feeling-good feeling there for a minute, when I realized I was in a playoff with Morgan.”
Smith said she had played so poorly on the front nine that when her regulation round was over she was just happy that she had rallied and played 4-under on the back nine.
“I was just trying to finish out strong, because I had a brutal front nine, and I’m happy that I was even in position to be in a playoff,” she said. “To shoot 4-under on the back nine to me is an accomplishment. I’m happy. Anna is a great player. Good for her. I’m proud of her.”