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Ladies spotlight
Manning steadies nerves, wins playoff, takes FDCC 18-Hole Championship Flight

Though Catherine Manning admitted she was so nervous, “I was out there saying a few prayers just trying to get myself calmed down,” she applied lessons learned the hard way two years earlier — facing a similar nerve-wracking golf finish — and overcame adversity to win.

All square against Karen Neidhardt after 54 holes during the annual Fox Den Country Club Ladies 18-Hole Club Championship match play final Friday, Aug. 5, Manning rallied from two holes down with four to play to win her first-ever golf crown. Victory came in a sudden-death playoff.

“I felt like mentally I'd matured as a golfer,” said an extremely happy Manning, who took advantage of Neidhardt's playoff tee shot at hole No. 1 that went left into the woods and, according to Neidhardt, “was down in a little hole.”

Despite both women landing in the bunker at No. 1 during the playoff, Manning did so one shot sooner and won 2-up.

“I was really having problems with my nerves,” said Manning, as both women admitted nerves were a factor at No. 18 when both hit extremely short iron shots in the fairway.

A two-time club champ and former high school state champion in North Dakota, Neidhardt said, “I've been struggling this year with my irons, and I took a lesson yesterday with a pro.”

All square after nine holes, Neidhardt gained momentum at No. 11, winning the hole with a pitch from 93 feet that found the bottom of the hole.

“I thought that was a fantastic shot, and that I was really going to have to focus,” Manning said.

Down two with four to play entering 15, Manning's fairway chip — her third shot at the par 4 15th (387 yards) — rolled to within two feet of the hole. “That was a great chip for me; I actually used an 8-iron because I was kinda fairway far out and I thought I could run it up to the hole,” Manning said, winning the hole with a par.

Neidhardt's tee shot at 16 (par 3, 89 yards) found water. The match suddenly was all square.

After halving No. 17, the pair's poor iron play at 18 resulted in matching double bogeys.

Manning avenged a previous huge setback: a disappointing sudden death club championship loss to Brenda Curtis in 2009.

“I had Brenda three up going into 16 … I had to really kind of dig deep to not remember that outcome,” said Manning, a FDCC member 20 years who has been playing the 18-hole club tourney the last “eight or nine years.”

“Brenda is a fighter … Brenda has taught me never to give up,” added Manning, using that lesson as No. 8 seed to defeat Curtis, top seed and two-time defending club champ, on the second hole of sudden death during the quarterfinal round Aug. 2.

Manning then beat Tina Sanders 3-and-2 in the semifinals Thursday, Aug. 3.

In the Championship Flight consolation Friday, Carol Hornstra defeated Julie Natale 7-and-6.


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