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Resorters Golf: Aldrich, Sullivan to tangle again for Women's Execs crown

Jodi (Krafka) Sullivan chips onto the No. 9 green during her Women's Executive semifinal match Friday. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)1 / 4
Betsy Aldrich sends her putt toward the cup during Friday's semifinal round in the Women's Executive field. Aldrich won to send herself into the championship on Saturday, where she will go for a third straight division title. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)2 / 4
Molly Baker reacts after just missing a putt on No. 9 in the Women's Executive Division Championship Friday. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press) 3 / 4
Joan Frie (left) watches as her tricky putt from the No. 9 fringe rolls into the cup. Her opponent, Betsy Aldrich (middle), yelled out a whoop and gave her a hug. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press) 4 / 4

It’s deja vu for the Women’s Executive Division.

For the second straight year, Betsy Aldrich of Minnetonka will square off against Jodi (Krafka) Sullivan of Alexandria for all the marbles.

Last year’s match was a thriller with Aldrich escaping for a 2-up win. What will happen this time?

“I’m looking forward to the rematch with Betsy,” said Sullivan. “But I can’t play the way I did today and beat her.”

Sullivan has found success in the Resorters. She won the Women’s Championship Division in 1985 and 1987 and was runner-up in 1989.

Aldrich is also right at home in the tournament. She won the Women’s Championship Division in 2003 and 2008, was a three-time runner-up in that division and is seeking her third trophy in the Women’s Executive Division.

The two will tee it up from No. 1 at 12:15 p.m.   

Aldrich def. Frie, 6-4

For the second straight day, Aldrich defeated her opponent, 6-4.

This time it was Joan Frie of Clear Lake.

The win didn’t come easily for Aldrich, who was the division’s champion in 2007 and 2017.

“No joke – are there any hole placements that can be tougher tomorrow?” Aldrich asked. “There were some real hard hole locations. But it was fun and it made a difference.”

Frie provided some crowd-pleasing moments by sinking long putts on 8, 9 and 11. “Joan made some putts to really keep the match going,” said Aldrich. “She played well.”

Aldrich grabbed an early lead with a birdie win on No. 2, a par win on No. 3 and a bogey win on No. 4. After swapping pars on the fifth hole, Aldrich birdied No. 6 to go 4-up. Both women parred the Minnesota Green and then Frie won her first hole of the day, a par on No. 8.

Taking a three-hole lead into the back nine, Aldrich didn’t provide Frie with any openings by hitting nothing but pars on the five holes. Along the way, she won Nos. 10, 12 and put the match away with a win on No. 14.

It was another solid round for the defending champ. She was even-par for the day.

“My game is much more consistent this year,” Aldrich said. “Even my misses aren’t that bad. Last year, I had to punch out of trees and get out of trouble. Not this year.”

Sullivan def. Baker, 2-up

Molly Baker of Surprise, Ariz., had more than a few surprises in store for Sullivan. She led the match three times.

“Molly is a tough competitor,” said Sullivan. “She made me work for it.”

Baker’s par took the first hole but Sullivan rallied, going par, birdie on the next two holes to take the lead.

Baker tied it with a par win on No. 6 and moved out front with a par on the par-3 7th.

Sullivan could only match Baker’s pars on Nos. 8 and 9 and trailed by one at the turn.

Sullivan continued to have some problems on No. 10 when she went OB. “I was 2-down and all over the map,” Sullivan said. “My swing just fell apart.”

Sullivan settled down with a solid par on No. 11 to edge to within one, but Baker took the long 12th hole with par to go 2-up again.

Sullivan kicked her game up a gear after that. She won four of the next six holes with pars on Nos. 13, 15 and 16 and iced the match with a birdie on 18.

That final hole was a key one for Sullivan. Her drive leaked under a tree and she could have played it safe by just punching it out. But her caddy and brother, Ron Krafka, told her to go for the green with a sand wedge. Her shot landed only a couple feet from the cup for a tap-in birdie.

SATURDAY PAIRINGS - 1ST TEE

12:15 p.m. - Betsy Aldrich vs. Jodi (Krafka) Sullivan

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

(320) 763-1236
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