Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Garety Wins Women's State Amateur
By Susan Bairley

In many ways, it was a series of repeats for Joan Garety, 1997 Michigan Women's Amateur Champion.

She was on top again at Black River Country Club, where she won the Golf Association of Michigan Women's Championship last year. She again earned the State Championship title, which she first won 15 years ago, in 1982. And her parents, who had not watched her play in the Michigan Women's Amateur Championship since her last win in 1982, were present again in her final match play round to see her capture her second winner's title.

Winning the final match, 1-up, Joan Garety, vice president-treasurer at Meijer Inc. and member at Egypt Valley Country Club, defeated Defending Champion and new Michigan State University Women's Golf Coach Stacy Slobodnik.

"Stacy is a fine player and a very good opponent," Garety said. "When you play Stacy, you know she's going to hit the ball well and that you've got to play your best. We were never more than one hole apart (in the final match). It was exciting."

The 81st Annual Michigan Women's Amateur Championship, sponsored by the Women's Michigan Golf Association, was at Black River Country Club in Port Huron July 14-18. The event drew 117 entries, with 113 actually playing in the qualifying round for the 112 spaces, which comprised a full field for the match play tourney.

"The caliber of golf was excellent," said WMGA President Carolyn Benninger. "And the final match, which paired the young and experienced, made it all the more reflective of women's competitive golf in Michigan."

To get to the final pairing, Garety defeated Karen Smith, 5-3, in the first round; Erika Iding (tournament Medalist who shot a 74), 2-1, in round two; Vicki Abens, 4-3, in round three; and Laurieanne Berles, 4-3, in the semifinal match. Slobodnik defeated Lisa Petro, 3-1; Patricia White, 6-5; Lois Kaminsky, 6-5, in the third round; and 1990, 1995 State Champion Mary Jane Anderson, 1-up in her semifinal round.

The final match, between Garety and Defending Champion Stacy Slobodnik, was a real shootout, with the matchplay advantage bouncing back and forth between the two.

"It was never more than one ahead or even, which made for a very exciting match," Benninger said.

Garety, who started golfing with her dad when she was 6 years old, is a one-handicap golfer. In high school, since there was no girls golf team, she played on the Caro High School boys team for two years, then was a collegiate golfer at MSU. She joined Green Ridge Country Club in 1981, then moved with the club when it built its new course in Ada and became Egypt Valley.

Playing with a mixed bag of clubs -- Ram Laser Effects irons, a Big Bertha driver, Taylor Made woods and an Odyssey putter, she is no stranger to victory. She's won the Grand Rapids City Championship six times, Spring Lake Championship three times and adds various local wins to her now, two Michigan Women's Amateur Championships.

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