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Penn edges neighbor Riso in BDGA playoff

It’s kind of hard to be upset about coming in second after spending the day singing “Ice, Ice Baby” and songs from “Frozen” with the person you’ve known since wearing diapers.

After Marah Penn bogeyed the 18th hole and Sara Riso’s par forced a playoff at the BDGA Women’s Individual Championships at Gowanda Country Club Thursday, common knowledge would suspect the two were on edge heading to the playoff. Instead, the city of good neighbors prevailed.

Penn and Riso, 18-year-old next-door neighbors in Hamburg, have known each other since they can remember. So instead, they were encouraging each other entering what would be the final hole of the day.

Penn drilled her drive in the middle of the fairway but Riso pushed her shot right, resulting in a drop. Penn perfectly placed her second shot on the green and two-putted for the victory.

The two hugged afterward. And what were they thinking about? Lunch and the bathroom.

Penn and Riso were excited they’d be paired together. Riso entered the day as the leader after shooting a par 72 on the first day. Penn was tied for second place at 74.

They had a cart together and in honoring of sharing the cart, they sang Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” to the first hole.

Penn shot a one-over 37 on the front nine compared to Riso’s four-over 40 to take a one-shot lead after 27 holes. Penn wasn’t concerned with gaining ground entering the day, she was just focused on playing well.

“I really didn’t think about it,” said Penn, heading to Division I Elon University in North Carolina. “I knew I had to shoot even or a couple over.” Penn also said the greens were a lot slower due to the rain.

That slow green proved difficult for Riso, as she was unable to hold her lead from the day before.

“I just couldn’t make the putts,” said Riso, who will play at Division I Siena College next year. “Yesterday I made absolutely everything, but today I missed a lot, a lot of putts, so that was a little disappointing.”

Riso admitted to feeling nervous also saying, “I went into the day kind of nervous because I knew last time I was leading a tournament I kind of fell apart.”

Penn and Riso tied with a 151 through the two days. Lancaster’s Chelsea Dantonio, the 2015 Buffalo News Prep Talk Player of the Year, finished third with 155.

Kim Kaul of Colden won the senior bracket and Belfast’s Lorrie Histed finished second.

Penn is excited to be heading to college with one more victory.

“It’s pretty cool,” Penn said. “It’s my last tournament of the season before I go to college, so it’s nice to end with a win and start fresh in college.”

Riso said she’s excited about playing in a team golf environment at Siena.

“It will definitely be a different experience I guess, like traveling with a team,” Riso said. “I think that team aspect will be a lot of fun.”

But for now, Penn has bragging rights over her neighbor, whether she chooses to use them or not. The two planned to swim in Penn’s pool when they got home.

After spending the day driving around in the same cart, they left in the same car back to Hamburg.

“Nothing will change,” Penn said.