The 18th green was surrounded by golf carts in anticipation of the final pairing of the Championship Flight of Tuesday’s second round at the McHenry Women’s Invitational.
Based on the scoreboard, who would win the championship was not in doubt, but that didn’t stop the supporters from cheering and watching as the tournament came to a close at McHenry Country Club.
Western Springs’ Alyssa Gaudio rode her first round 70 to win the flight by nine shots. Gaudio shot an 81 in her second round, which was still one of the best in any of the flights.
“I loved seeing all those familiar faces watching and having the support system out there,” Gaudio said. “I didn’t play great today, but I managed to win and I’m so happy to have won this tournament.”
Recent Prairie Ridge grad Delainey Peterson, currently playing at Texas, battled flu-like symptoms in her second round but managed to finish in second place with a two-day combined score of 160.
Two of the six flights were won by local golfers. Joe Ann Hurst of McHenry hung on to her lead from the opening round to win by one in the second flight. Hurst shot a combined score of 175, after her 91 on Tuesday. This was her second straight victory in this flight.
Karri Thiessen, also from McHenry, shot a 91 on both days of the tournament to win by three shots in the fourth flight.
“I’m so ecstatic at this point, I didn’t come in with any expectations of winning,” Thiessen said. “The best part was being a local player and having all the support out there, them being there kicked me into a high gear.”
Thiessen and Hurst winning a tournament together is not all surprising considering they have already accomplished so much together off the golf course. Both players took a bit of a break from golf to become the first women in the U.S or Canada to start their own insulation company.
The company was a success under their leadership for 17 years. Last year, they sold the company and have since been able to do more things for themselves like play golf 3 to 4 times a week. The company still exists today as the biggest in the Chicag area.
“It means a lot to me to be able to golf more often and especially considering the people you meet around this area and at this tournament,” Thiessen said.
Hurst added, “The best part about the being able to golf is not having to worry about the business all the time, I golf a lot, it’s like my new job.”
Crystal Lake’s Laurie Bender was the top local golfer in the third flight, finishing third with a combined score of 192.
“This is such a great golf club, with so many girls that come from all over the place, I’ve met a lot of these girls before, and now seeing all of them again it’s really fun. The organizers do a great job,” Bender said.
The second day of the tournament ended with a banquet honoring the golfers and eight of the women who originally put together the whole tournament 40 years ago.
One of the current chairwomen Mimi Denoma, who also finished fourth in the first flight with a score of 173, was glad the women were in attendance to be celebrated.
“The founding mothers, as I like to call them, are here and they had a dream and thought they would give this a try,” Denoma said.
“A few years in they knew they had something successful with the number of golfers continuing to play in it. It’s just a wonderful event, and I’m proud to be a part of it."