HARBOR SPRINGS – Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll promised she won’t forget to bring the Sara Wold Trophy with her to the GAM Women’s Senior Championship next year.
“I won’t forget it again,” said the Haslett resident after winning the 27th edition of the championship presented by Rocket Tour Tuesday at Harbor Point Golf Club.
Slobodnik-Stoll, the winningest GAM golfer ever with 18 individual titles, shot a final round 1-under 70 for a 1-over 143 tournament total and runaway 11-shot victory.
Julie Massa of Pentwater, the 2022 GAM Senior Women’s Player of the Year, shot 78 for 152 and second place while Joan Garety of Ada, like Slobodnik-Stoll and Massa members of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, finished third after a 78 for 156.
Shelly Weiss of Southfield, a past champion who shot 82, and Donna Benford of Linden, a two-time past winner who shot 80, rounded out the top five tied at 162.
After Slobodnik-Stoll made five birdies and shot 3-under 33 on the front nine Tuesday there was little drama left in the tournament.
The only drama involved the Sara Wold Trophy, which is presented annually, and winners have their names inscribed on it and are allowed to take it home for a year.
Slobodnik-Stoll, the defending champion, forgot to bring the trophy from home and had to call on others to help get the tournament to Harbor Point in time for the trophy ceremony Tuesday following play. They came through, in particular the parents of her former college roommate Kim (Kuschinski) Cronin, Tom and Mary Jane Kuschinski. They welcomed her as a guest while she played in the tournament and helped in the arrangement, along with Kim, for the trophy to arrive safely, too – just in time for Slobodnik-Stoll to win it again and take it home again.
“I couldn’t believe I did that,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “It was a hard call to make to (Ken Hartmann, senior director of competitions for the GAM) when I realized it on my way up here.”
As for winning the trophy once again, it was clear she remembered to bring her putter.
“I had a good putting day, but I need to be in the 60s with six birdies,” she said. “I three-putted 10 and 11, but there were some tucked pins today. You had to be careful, but I made a couple of 20-footers, and I hit a couple close. It was fun. The putter worked well for most of the day and winning never gets old.”
Slobodnik-Stoll, 51, said her play this week prompted her to wonder how well she could play if she could carve out more time for practicing her own game. She is playing in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur next month in Arizona, but she will be working around her schedule as coach of the Spartans.
“I have osmosis of watching some of the best players in the world on my team and they are inspirational, but sometimes I wish I had a little more time to actually focus on my game,” she said. “And it I want to continue to play at a high level, I’m going to have find that time.”