Resorters golf: A magical back nine leads Amanda O’Donnell to Women’s Execs title
Elk River golfer wins her second Resorters championship, first in the Women's Executive field.
ALEXANDRIA — With the match tied after the front nine, Amanda O’Donnell of Elk River headed to the 10th tee box and got ready for her tee shot.
A key moment on the 10th propelled O’Donnell to an eventual 4-3 win over Alexandria native Jodi (Krafka) Sullivan of St. Petersburg, Florida, in the Women’s Executive Division Championship at the 101st Resorters Tournament at the Alexandria Golf Club.
This tournament win is O’Donnell’s second Resorters title. She won the Women’s Division championship in 2001.
At the No. 10 tee box on Saturday, O’Donnell said she saw a monarch butterfly that reminded her of the butterfly she saw at her grandma’s funeral in 2002. Her grandparents got her into this tournament early on.
“At my grandma's funeral, I saw a monarch butterfly and on the 10 tee, I saw a monarch butterfly flying around me and it just refocused me,” O’Donnell said. “So it made me really just focus back on why I'm here. It made me remind myself of why we come here every year as a family tradition and what we build. It gave me that extra drive.”
O’Donnell parred the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th holes to beat Sullivan on Saturday. Sullivan is an accomplished golfer who has seen plenty of success playing in The Resorters.
She won the 2018 Women’s Executive title and was a runner-up in 2017 and 2019, along with being a two-time (1985 and 1987) Women’s champion.
“It took me just playing my game,” O’Donnell said. “That’s kind of the best way to describe it. It’s just more of not worrying about what my opponent is doing and instead focusing on what I’m doing. It’s about focusing on my play and what I need to do rather than what she is doing.”
Sullivan and O’Donnell traded blows on the front nine with Sullivan winning the 1st and 9th holes but O’Donnell winning the 4th and 8th.
“It was nerve-wracking,” O’Donnell said. “I was up against a tough opponent. We both said at the beginning of the round, ‘Let's just go have some fun and let's go play our own game and what happens, happens.’”
O’Donnell shot a 75 in the qualifying round and locked up match-play victories after the final putt on the 16th hole or earlier in every round.
“This week, chipping was a big thing for me,” O’Donnell said. “My driver is always on, so that’s always a big help. With putting, my goal was to never be putting above the hole and I accomplished that most of the days.”
O’Donnell was dominant on the back nine for the whole tournament in the match play bracket. She won a total of 11 holes on the back nine and only lost one, the par 5 12th to No. 8 Lisa Sobba in the quarterfinals.
O’Donnell began her tournament with a 9-7 victory over the No. 16 seed Lorrie Sienko. O’Donnell then took down Sobba 4-2 with wins on five of the first nine holes. In the semifinals, she beat 2021 runner-up Molly Baker, 7-6.
Sullivan earned convincing victories to get to the finals as well. She defeated the No. 15 seed Karen Studer, 6-5, in the first match-play round. This was followed by a 4-3 win over the No. 10 seed Heather Steege. Sullivan defeated the No. 6 seed Caitlin Cummings, 9-8, in Friday’s semifinals.
O’Donnell is the third different golfer to win the Women’s Executive division in the last seven tournaments. Betsy Aldrich of Minneapolis has won five, with Sullivan and O’Donnell having won the other two. Aldrich played in the U.S. Senior Amateur in Alaska during this year’s Resorters.
“I love the galleries and I love the crowd,” O’Donnell said of the Resorters. “I love seeing people walking around and watching. I played better under pressure and with galleries. I don't care how many carts are driving while I’m on my backswing. It's just fun to see all the kids out here and all the families out here just having a good time. We introduced some really close friends [to the tournament] two years ago and they all come up now with their whole family.”