High school girls across the state were treated to a clinic from LPGA Hall of Famer Amy Alcott and LPGA Tour pro Barb Mucha before competing in the Ohio Girls Golf Foundation Open July 19 at Avon Oaks Country Club in Avon. The LPGA pros flew in from California and Florida to share their golf wisdom with the younger generation here in Ohio to help motivate them and improve their game.
“When we both played golf in high school, we had to golf on the boys team because there were no girls teams,” says Mucha. “It is great to be at an event like this and see how much the opportunities in girls golf have grown over the past years.”
In the hard-fought OGGF tournament, only one stroke determined both the individual winner and team champion. Caitlin Kempton of Shaker Heights shot 79 to win top honors, followed by Allison Mitzel of Poland with 80, and Lia Labate of Magnificat with 82. Six girls tied with a score of 83 to round out the top golfers: Caroline Kennedy of Bay, Corynn Kreig of Avon Lake, Ali Nageotte of Magnificat, Kaitlin Neumann of Avon, Amanda Orr of Canfield and Kelsie Teaberry of Warren JFK.
“Today shows that every shot does count,” says OGGF Tournament Director Tom Rider, who coaches the Warren JFK team. “When you look back on every stroke you will see where you could have shaved one stroke which would have made the difference in winning.”
In the morning clinic, LPGA pros Alcott and Mucha shared tips on irons, chipping and putting.
“Tournaments are really won or lost by the short game. No matter how far you drive the ball, if you can’t get up and down without problems, you won’t win the event,” said Mucha, a Parma native.
Alcott, who has won 33 LPGA events, gave advice for girls who want to pursue a career in golf. “It must be a true passion for a player,” she says. “It’s a hard life, but rewarding in so many ways. And I liken a professional golf career to what Mark Twain said, ‘Find something you truly love to do, and then you won’t work another day in your life.’ ”
Also at the event, six girls were presented college scholarships, including Mariah Groner of Poland to Youngstown State University and Amanda Orr of Canfield, to Tiffin University. Over the years, the foundation has awarded more than $86,000 to almost 100 girls.
Ohio Girls Golf Foundation Executive Director Judd Stephenson stands with first-place winner Caitlin Kempton of Shaker, second-place winner Allison Mitzel of Poland, and LPGA pro Barb Mucha following last week's girls open.