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By Nathaniel Bryan
Landmark News Service
As a 37-year-old mom of two with a full-time job, Elizabethtown’s Beverly Games doesn’t play as much golf as she’d like.
When she does play, like she did June 25 in the 50th Lady Bug Invitational at Elizabethtown Country Club, Games likes what she sees.
Games shot a 69 for a four-stroke win in the 44-player field - one more than competed earlier in the week in the Women’s Kentucky State Amateur in Murray.
The championship flight had a State Am feel to it. Games was the 2010 runner-up at Lakewood Country Club. The co-runner-ups at 73, Elizabethtown’s Kim Hartlage and Bardstown’s Joan Rizer, have played in several State Ams with Rizer winning five of them from 1988-94. Fourth-place finisher Jessica Cornelius (74) was the 1984 State Am champion at Eagle’s Nest Country Club and fifth-place finisher Anne Combs (76) is a five-time State Am winner.
“We had a wonderful, wonderful time. We enjoyed having all the former State Am champions come to E’town to play,” said Hartlage, also an ECC member.
Games noted Saturday was far more laid back than the weeklong State Am.
“It was a lot of fun. We were cutting up and we weren’t grinding it out,” said Games, who played just her third round of the summer.
Games’ round consisted of nine pars, six birdies and three bogeys. While certainly pleased with her score, the outcome was shocking to the even-keeled golfer.
“That was a roller coaster,” Games said. “I’m usually a pretty steady golfer. I’m used to maybe getting a couple of birdies and a lot of pars.”
Debuting a three-wood, which she’s not used to carrying, and replacing her old Bulls-Eye putter for a new Odyssey one, Games stayed out of trouble except for the par-3 12th.
Hartlage, who was in Games’ threesome along with Rizer, said Games was a machine on the greens.
“Her putting is phenomenal,” Hartlage said. “She hits it so straight anyway, so she’s not going to get into a lot of trouble. But her stroke is just so pure.”
Games chalked up her close game to the new putter, which she felt she could have used in her two State Am runner-up finishes in a three-year span.
“I really, really like it. I felt like in those two State Ams, the putter cost me. I missed a lot of putts I really should have made,” Games said. “I needed a putter that was a little more forgiving since I don’t play much now.”
Because of her penchant for finishing well in the few tournaments she does play, Games said it’s hard not to want to play more.
Maybe down the road.
“I would love to, but my kids are my priority. They’re little and they’re getting into things. It will be a few years before I can get in some more tournaments. Plus, I work full time,” Games said. “It’s times like this I wish I was a teacher.”
Like Games, Hartlage is a mother. Youngest daughter Lauren won the six-player first flight with a 78, while oldest daughter Ashley was fourth in the fourth flight. Because she has been following around their junior tour events, Hartlage hasn’t played much this summer and was hoping to shoot 75 on Saturday.
“I can’t say I’ve played a whole lot of golf this summer, so I was pleasantly surprised,” said Hartlage, who could have come closer to Games had she not three-putted 11. “That was about the only disappointment I had all day.”
Rizer, who has been the golf coach at nearby St. Catharine College since 1998, said the course played a lot different than it did when it hosted the 2008 State Am.
“We had a ball out there and it was fun,” said Rizer, a past Lady Bug champion. “This golf course is awesome now. There are great greens and you can’t find anything wrong with it.”
Editor’s note: Nathaniel Bryan is sports writer for The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown.