Betsy Aldrich of Minneapolis and Jodi (Krafka) Sullivan, a native of Alexandria, have been strong favorites in the Women’s Executive Division in each of the last two years, and nothing changed in the 2019 tournament.
Aldrich won the 2017 title against Sullivan before Sullivan returned the favor in 2018. On Saturday at the Alexandria Golf Club, the two met up again with a title on the line. This time, it was Aldrich’s turn to stand on top of the field again as she won her fifth overall Resorters championship, two from the Women’s Division and three in Execs, by winning a 3-2 final.
“It was good today,” Aldrich said. “I was two down after three holes, so I definitely had to come back. I had a bit of a rocky start, but I’ve been playing so well all week that I wasn’t too nervous. It was great.”
Sullivan used a birdie win at No. 3 to go 2-up, but she got into some trouble with a double bogey on No. 4. Aldrich stole that hole with a bogey and then pulled even with a par on No. 5. A birdie win on 7 and a par win on 8 meant she was 2-up at the turn.
“Out here, anything can happen,” Aldrich said. “You can be four up with four to play and go extra holes. I’m never comfortable, but I will say that this summer I’m playing the best I’ve ever played. I just had a lot of confidence with everything -- my tee ball, by irons into greens and my short game. It’s been really good, so I didn’t get as nervous this year as I normally would.”
Aldrich turned things on once they moved to the back nine. She had birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 that gave her her biggest lead of the day at 4-up.
That meant all the pressure was on Sullivan going forward. She responded initially, winning hole 13 with a par, but Aldrich got a par win of her own at 14.
“She’s good. She’s good and she hits it long and is steady,” Aldrich said of Sullivan. “She was a pro at one time, so she has a ton of experience. You can never count her out. Even on the 16th green, she had to win every hole and she won the 15th hole. I was fully expecting her to possibly win the 16th hole, but she missed her putt and I was able to win with par.”
Aldrich is as much of a regular as anyone in this tournament over the last 30 years. She won Women’s Division titles in 2003 and 2008 before running into tough competition from younger players who were so long off the tee in more recent years.
The Resorters Tournament committee brought back the Executive Division for the women in 2017, and Aldrich has found herself in the running for titles again each year since.
“I love this Execs Division. I will never take it for granted,” she said. “I love playing late into the week, and I know so many people in all the divisions. It’s fun to play later in the week because when my round is done, I can hop in a cart and zoom around and watch other people in other divisions. We’re here from 8 in the morning until 7 at night every day. It’s super fun that way.”