Kim Kaul needed a perfect shot if she was going to win the Women’s BDGA golf championship on the second playoff hole. A near perfect shot likely would have kept the event going to a third playoff hole, but that’s only if she sank her putt afterward.
Kathy Hooper chipped to within a few feet of the hole right before Kaul’s fourth shot on the par-5. All Hooper had to do was tap in her putt for par.
But she never got that opportunity. Kaul chipped from a few feet outside of the green, hit the pin and the ball bounced directly into the second hole at Tan Tara Golf Club in North Tonawanda on Tuesday.
“She said, ‘I just wanted to put a little pressure on you,’ ” Kaul said Hooper jokingly told her. “Then I go ahead and chip, so I knew I had to get close but I really did try to make it.”
The two were both only a few feet off the green - Kaul to the left side of the green and Hooper to the right. After a short discussion about who was closer, Hooper shot first.
Hooper was happy with her chip, but Kaul’s was just better.
Said Hooper, “I’m glad that I lost because she did something well, instead of somebody winning because someone did something poorly.”
Hooper entered the day four shots off the lead after shooting an 80 and winning the senior championship on Day One, which was Sunday. But her three-over 75 on Tuesday was the best score of the day.
“I was relaxed,” Hooper said, “that’s probably why I played so well.”
Kaul, the 2012 Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame inductee, wasn’t thrilled with her performance. She didn’t feel she played well at the event’s start – shooting a five-over 41 on the front nine. She felt better on the back end and shot par or better on 12 of her final 13 holes. Kaul’s lone bogey during that stretch came on the 18th hole, where Hooper made par to force the playoff.
“It was one of those days that I just didn’t have my swing. My swing was really off today,” Kaul said. “It was just a grind and I could tell Kathy was just” playing well, “her swing was oiled, she was smooth.”
Kaul and Hooper both finished with a 155 through 36 holes. They both bogeyed the first playoff hole.
Lauren Kase led entering the day after shooting a 76 on Sunday. The 17-year-old North Tonawanda resident and Sacred Heart student finished in third with a 157. She led Kaul by two strokes entering the second and final round.
Kaul actually thought she won after 36 holes. She thought she had a two-shot lead – which she did over Kase – but Hooper only trailed by one. Other players even began congratulating her after the 18th hole.
“Here I was thinking that I won it,” Kaul said, “and then I got to go out and play a sudden death, that took a lot to like ‘OK, relax, here we go.’ ”
It wasn’t ideal playing conditions, as it was brisk and cloudy with showers throughout the first 18 holes. Coincidently, the sun came out as the playoff began.
“We’ve all played enough tournament golf that it’s just something you had to endure,” said Kaul about the weather, noting the only thing she felt the weather changed was the speed of the greens due to the rain.
Kari Kaul (160), Donna Henrich (162) and Vaso Kroto (164) wrapped up the top six finishers.