Sunday, July 13, 2003

Six-time champion Eberle set to defend


She cites six contenders to her throne

By Andy Hemmer
Enquirer contributor

Lori Eberle etched a spot for herself in Northern Kentucky golf history when she won the Women's Amateur tournament last year, claiming a sixth championship.

Eberle will hold a comfortable position - both literally and numerically - when 50 registered players crank up the 2003 tourney Monday at Devou Park Golf Course.

Eberle will be practicing throughout Monday and Tuesday's qualifying rounds of medal play, while the rest of the field battles for seeding positions. Rules dictate the defending champ receive a free pass to Wednesday's round of match play. The winner will be determined by stroke play Thursday.

Eberle's record of six titles also will remain a leisurely distance from its most imminent threats, at least for a few more years: Leslie Kyle, Bonnie Overmann and Angie Grubbs, each with five titles, are not playing

Eberle's strategy for the defense of her 2002 crown bears a Zen-like theme, a reflection of her increasing "serenity and confidence" following personal and professional maturation.

"I've gone through a lot of different life changes, from collegiate golfer to wife and then mother, and most recently getting my master's degree," Eberle said. "I'm really proud of the master's. It gives me a little more serenity and confidence. I feel pretty balanced right now, like I can just settle in and enjoy golf."

Eberle, playing out of Sugar Bay Golf Course in Warsaw, received a Master's of Art & Technology from Northern Kentucky University in May. The program helps working people simultaneously earn a master's degree and teaching certificate.

A Western Kentucky University grad, Eberle used to teach at St. Henry High School. She recently accepted an offer from her alma mater, Boone County High School, to teach computer applications.

Eberle recited a half-dozen players she thinks can win at Devou, a tight course that "demands a lot of decisions right off the tee," said Dan Hahn, general manager of Landrum Golf Management, which operates the course.

Laura Schild, Libby Moses, Nicole Weber, Erin O'Connor, Mary Jo Meek and Deana Clark are all contenders, Eberle said.

Opened in 1929, 18-hole Devou was remodeled in 1995 and, with 14 par-4s and three par-3s, rewards those with mastery of the short game.

"And Lori has a fantastic short game," Schild said.

Golfers paying the $45 entry fee will get their money's worth. The entire field will compete Wednesday.




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