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Fowler, Myers repeat as Lassies champions
This year's tournament victory was the record eighth for Fowler and Myers.
By late Thursday afternoon, the inflatable "Nessie" was belly-up in the pond fronting the sixth hole at Cape Girardeau Country Club at the 29th annual Lassies Classic.
A strong breeze, and possibly some turtles, had taken its toll on the tethered mascot.
It made quite the contrast to another staple of the annual two-women scramble -- defending champions Diane Fowler and Harriette Myers remained in the upright position.
The New Madrid duo had taken a one-shot lead into the day in search of their record eighth Lassies Classic title. With hot putters leading the charge, they shot a 7-under-par 29 on their opening nine en route to a 62 and a five-stroke victory over the team of Janice Hoffman and Vicki Long.
Unlike the last three years, Fowler and Myers -- a member of Dalhousie Golf Club -- were able to relax down the stretch. Last year, the team overcame Hoffman and Long with six birdies on the back nine. They had won and lost a playoff the previous two years.
Starting on the back nine Thursday, the team ran off four consecutive birdies to start the round.
"I think it was good for us to get started on the back," Fowler said. "Some years they start us on the front, and this year they started us on the back, which really is our strongest part of this golf course."
Fowler rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole to start the run.
"When I made that one it kind of jumped us out to a two-stroke lead and made them kind of play a little more catch-up and maybe press a little harder," Fowler said. "But they played excellent golf."
Hoffman and Long trailed by four strokes at the turn despite shooting a 4-under 32. Any hope of a comeback faded with the team's only bogey of the day on the par 4 No. 3 that dropped them five strokes off the pace with six holes to play.
Hoffman and Myers, who had lost a five-stroke lead last year over the final nine holes, as well as a dare bet, were all but running up a white flag with a few holes to go. Hoffman had to climb a tree after last year's tournament as part of her bet, and she was a little more contrite as she stood on the green at No. 7 watching her opponents match her team's par.
"I'll have to wait until she's in a rocking chair to beat her [Myers]," Hoffman said. "It probably won't happen then. She'll just put wheels on it and just keep on swinging."
Hoffman and Long finished with a 66, the second-lowest round of the day, which was a stroke higher than their opening 65.
"They're just two good players," Hoffman said. "We always enjoy playing with them. We play a lot together. There's no doubt about it, we're usually fighting it with them all the time."
The team of Sandy Barclay and Mary Jane Tyler placed third, 10 strokes behind the winners.
Fowler and Myers came one stroke short of their goal of a 61, which would have matched their best round in the Lassies Classic.
"We always know we have a good chance if we play our game, play well and make a few putts," Myers said.
Fowler also knows the team will have a chance if Myers will keep her Slotline Duckhead putter in her bag. Fowler said Myers likes to tinker with the clubs in her bag, which often means opting for a different putter.
"The biggest concern for me is when she comes out with any other putter than the one she putted with today," Fowler said. "The one she putted with today cost her $12 out of a barrel. And she putts, on these greens, better with that than with anything else. And she has them all -- Scotty Cameron ... ."
Myers said her used putter, bought in New Madrid, is no longer available new.
"If you want one, you need to buy in on Ebay," Myers said.
Fowler insists her partner use the putter, but isn't always successful.
"She'll put something else in her bag, and then the next day she'll bring it -- the second day last year and the second day this year. She thinks she can't putt with it on all greens, so she'll tinker around with it."
Myers also switched her irons from the day before.
The partnership is the one constant, and it's not likely to change soon.
"We really enjoy the tournament," Fowler said. "Everyone is so nice to us. We've met so many golfers because of it from all over since we got in the tournament 10 to 11 years ago. We were lucky to get in because it's always so full."
The maximum 96 teams competed in the tournament.
Tournament co-chairman Judi Brey was elated with the event, which was followed by a downpour about an hour after the final groups were finished. The only real nemesis was warm weather.
"The weather was awesome," Brey said. "It was a big concern for today, but we dodged the storms."