Shortly after winning her fourth straight title in last year’s 60th Spokane Area Women’s Golf Association championship tournament, Beth Wrigley said she realized that eventually “somebody younger and better will show up” and put the brakes on her remarkable run.
She was probably right.
But whoever that might be certainly didn’t show up this week as Wrigley, a part-time registered nurse in the Wounds and Ostomy Department at Sacred Heart Hospital, captured an unprecedented fifth consecutive championship in Spokane’s most prestigious women’s golf event.
Despite having to deal with torturously slow play and some perplexing pin placements Thursday afternoon, Wright tamed The Fairways at West Terrace golf course with a final-round score of 2-over-par 74 that gave her a three-day total of 228 in the 54-hole tournament that is held on three different courses.
Wrigley finished with a 22-stroke lead over her nearest challenger, Janet Skaife, who finished at 250.
“They’re going to kick me out pretty soon,” she said following her tidy closing round that included three birdies – two of which came on the back nine, where she shot an even-par 36. “I was just crusin’ out there today.”
Wrigley, who stepped down as an assistant golf coach at Whitworth University last spring, entered the final round with an 11-stroke lead over Nancy Johnson and never let anyone in the final foursome – which included Skaife – up for air.
She rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth hole, made the turn at 2-over and then answered both of her back-nine bogies with birdies on the par-5 12th and par-4 closing hole to better the previous record of four consecutive SAWGA titles she had shared with Connie Guthrie and Lisette Carter.
Wrigley admitted to losing her focus a couple of times because of the long waits on nearly every hole of the final round, which stretched well more than 5½ hours. But she battled through those mental lapses and mastered some devilish pin placements to win in another runaway.
“Other than the bogey I made on No. 2, where I drove it behind the big willow tree on the left, I played really consistent today,” she said. “The course was in the best condition I’ve seen it in in a long time. The greens were great, but you couldn’t get above the hole or you’d be in trouble, and I knew that.”
One of Wrigley’s back-nine hiccups came on the par-3 17th, where she hit her tee shot to the back left of the green and three-putted after rolling her downhill birdie try 12 feet past the hole.
But she closed in a big way, knocking her approach shot on the difficult 18th to within 6 feet and draining her birdie putt.
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