McHENRY – Kelly Voigt always knew it was going to be close.
Voigt, a senior at Valparaiso who attended Fremd High School, won last year's McHenry Women's Invitational at McHenry Country Club. She found herself two strokes off the lead and playing in the final group in the championship flight after shooting a 4-over-par 76 during Monday's first round.
Day 1 leader Ali Rogala fell off the pace, but Lake Forest resident Laura Carson and Voigt battled throughout the day. Voigt ultimately took the lead late in the round and held on for her second consecutive championship during the tournament's 39th year.
"I was down two strokes all afternoon until the 14th hole," Voigt said. "It was just one of those things."
Voigt birdied the 14th while Carson bogeyed, which brought the two into a tie. Voigt was then able to make up two more strokes along the way, including one on the 18th to seal the victory with a two-day total of 149 after posting a tournament-best 1-over 73 on Tuesday. Carson finished in second with a two-day total of 151 after going 75-76.
When word of the close battle reached the clubhouse, many made their way to watch the round conclude. More and more people gathered until 31 spectators mingled around 18 golf carts lining the 18th. They watched as Voigt hit a tee shot that stopped just 6 feet from the hole. She was able to tap it in for a birdie to a cascade of applause.
"This tournament is something special," Voigt said. "The quality of play is great, it's always a battle, and you can have fun too. These women make sure you have some fun."
Meanwhile, Lake Bluff Golf Club member Pee Wee McCormick went 77-83 for a two-day total of 160, which was good for first place in the first flight. McHenry residents Marlo Jorgenson (173) and Kris Gilstrap (186) finished in the top 10.
"I should have just stayed home today," Gilstrap joked after shooting a 96 on Tuesday.
The second flight was won by Sandy Honaker golfing out of Glencoe Golf Club with a two-day total of 176. McHenry resident Joe Ann Hurst finished two strokes off the lead and took second after a strong second day, going 94-84 for a 178.
"I played a lot better today," Hurst said. "I just relaxed a bit more and things went my way."
The third flight went to Marian Bradshaw, who posted a 187, which was good for a four-shot victory over McHenry Country Club member Laurie Bender. In the fourth flight, Carol Kidder went 92-93 for a 185 and a one-stroke victory over Robin Natzke. The fifth flight was won by Kathy Brennan, who shot a 199.
Golfers couldn't talk enough about the course, their fellow golfers and the friendliness of the staff.
"This is my first time playing in the tournament, but it's something that I will definitely continue to do," Natzke said. "You feel at home here because everyone is waving or asking you how you are. It's a great place to be."