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Women's Open: Alexandria club pro shows the young ones

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS
  • Star Tribune
  • August 8, 2012 - 7:12 AM

Lisa Grimes came to the 18th tee box at Burl Oaks in Minnetrista on Tuesday some 350 yards away from winning her third Minnesota Women's State Open.

A four-stroke par would have done it. She nearly took care of business with two swings.

Grimes crushed her first shot -- one of a few holes where a driver was necessary for her at the course -- leaving only 60 yards to the pin. Using a sand wedge, she one-hopped the ball over the cup with her approach shot.

Grimes took a long look and backed off once, then swept in the birdie putt for a final round 1-under-par 71 and a two-shot victory over Day 1 leader Jaclyn Shepherd.

"I didn't mean to hit it that far but it went straight and it worked out," Grimes said of her final tee shot. "My ball-striking has been great. I was never in the rough, never in the hazard."

The club professional from Alexandria, who finished her two rounds at 1-over-par 145, made up for a bogey on the par-4 eighth hole with a 25-foot birdie putt on a par-3 three holes later.

"I've been struggling with the putter all year but I didn't have any three-putts, which is good on these greens," Grimes said. "I missed a few shorties but made a couple good ones like you hope for."

Grimes, who went to Arizona State and spends her winters in the desert teaching at Apache Creek (Ariz.) Golf Club, saw Burl Oaks for the first time during a practice round late Sunday evening. Playing a day later in a field made up mostly of high school- and college-aged players, the savvy veteran showed the kids how it's done.

Two-time Class 3A high school girls' champion Celia Kuenster of Cretin-Derham Hall was third, finishing three shots back.

"[Grimes] is super steady, never really a mistake," said Shepherd, who begins her senior season with the Gophers next month.

The last big event Grimes played in before this week was on a bit of a larger scale: the U.S. Women's Open in July at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. She got in as an alternate and missed the cut.

"You hate to go into a tournament thinking you don't have a chance, but realistically I didn't," she said. "Coming into this one, I felt I did.

"You lose in this game far more than you win. You really have to savor the wins."

Shepherd has come close. The Delafield, Wis., native was also second in the Wisconsin Women's Open in June.

"I was hoping to turn the tides in this one but it's a great way to close out the summer," she said.

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