WESTLAKE, Ohio: Tannenhauf Golf Club Head Professional and Malone University Assistant Women’s Golf Coach Mary Suitca shot a final-round 2-over 73 on Thursday to win the NOPGA Women’s Professional Championship at Lakewood Country Club.
Suitca’s 36-hole total of 74-73—147 was five shots better than runner up Jennifer Creech (73-79—152), of Chesterland and The Country Club, and seven shots in front of third-place finisher Tiana Jones, (77-77) of Alliance and TopGolf.
Suitca finished with 13 pars, two birdies, two bogeys and one double-bogey in erasing a one-shot deficit behind Creech after Wednesday’s opening round.
Suitca was steady over her final 10 holes with eight pars and one birdie and one bogey in winning what Northern Ohio PGA officials are hoping becomes a major event in women’s golf.
“It’s amazing,” said Suitca. “I am super happy to be a part of the beginning of this event. Hopefully there is a bright future for it.”
The event was held in conjunction with the NOPGA’s Senior Professional Championship. The event drew just the three competitors. There is hope the field will increase as more people hear about it.
“The hard part is getting the ball rolling,” said Suitca. “Hopefully, we did that today and more and more people will hear about it and get involved.”
After her lone double bogey on the fourth hole Suitca played her final 14 holes in even-par, highlighted by birdies on the 280-yard seventh and 350-yard 17th.
She had a kick-in birdie on the seventh when her approach from 95 yards stopped 18 inches from the hole. A dead-straight uphill putt of 15 feet on the penultimate hole closed out the day.
Suitca pointed to back-to-back holes in which she saved par as being instrumental. An errant tee shot on the 11th hole forced her to punch out but her third shot left her with just a 4-footer. A nifty chip to three feet on the par-3 12th helped her save par there.
Tim is a Contributing Writer for the Northern Ohio PGA. Award-winning golf writer and sports reporter for the Plain Dealer, now retired. Contributor to the Akron Beacon Journal, Canton Repository, AP, other national publications.