Resorters: Sullivan tops Aldrich in Women's Execs rematch
Alexandria native Jodi (Krafka) Sullivan lost in an 18-hole match to Minnetonka's Betsy Aldrich in the Women's Executive Division championship during the 2017 Resorters Tournament.
On Saturday, Sullivan returned the favor. In a rematch of last year's finals, Sullivan stepped onto the 18th green needing to match Aldrich's par to avoid a playoff.
She faced an unfamiliar uphill putt from about seven feet and calmly sent it in, celebrating with a fist pump and then a hug with Aldrich.
"I was nervous," Sullivan said. "I haven't had any uphills all week. I've had downhill (putts), where you're just kind of trying to guide them to the hole. All of a sudden, I'm facing an uphill for the first time."
Sullivan was 1-up going into the 18th hole after neither player could separate themself all day. Aldrich struck first with a par win at No. 1. Both birdied on No. 3, and that 1-up advantage for Aldrich stood until Sullivan won with a birdie on No. 8.
Another five holes went by before Sullivan grabbed her first lead of the day at No. 14 with a par. Then on 15, she sank a long putt for a birdie win that would prove to be the difference in the match.
"It was the first one I got to the hole," Sullivan said. "That was huge. The thing is, the putt was moving. It hit the hole hard. On these greens, you want to just die them into the hole. This one was moving, but it went in."
Aldrich came right back with a par win at 16, but both players parred No. 17.
That set up the dramatics of the 18th hole. Sullivan had a nice drive but didn't quite get her approach shot over a ridge that sits on the front of the 18th green. Her ball rolled back down and off the green, while Aldrich had a long putt for birdie. She missed, and Sullivan hit her third shot a bit short but within a makeable distance to win with the par.
"I tried to not get too down on myself," Sullivan said of her second shot that came back off the green. "I had a perfect distance for sand wedge, but it was sitting up. It was one of those shots where I didn't want to take a big divot because, with my sand wedge, I could fly over. I just kind of went under it."
Sullivan had friends and family there to congratulate her after the win, including her three children, who are triplets. It's because of them that she got back into golf after nearly two decades away after she had a decorated high school career in Alexandria and then collegiately at the University of Minnesota.
"It is fun," Sullivan said. "I really put away the clubs for about 20 years. I had a family, but when they were getting to about 10, they showed an interest. I said, 'If I get back into it, I can go with them.' So it was me getting back into it so I could get them into it."
Sullivan won Resorters titles in the Women's Division in 1985 and 1987. Now she can add another one to the list.