Kuhn takes first crown; Kuhlman does it again

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Women’s champions Roxanne Kuhlman (senior) and Sam Kuhn (open) pose with Messenger advertising director Cory Bargfrede and Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota owner Johnson after Sunday’s action at the Fort Dodge Country Club.

Sam Kuhn has been chasing a Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Webster County championship since she was in high school.

Roxanne Kuhlman, meanwhile, makes winning titles in this tournament a habit.

Both were equally grateful for different reasons on Sunday, as Kuhn earned her first-ever crown in the open division while Kuhlman prevailed for the fourth time on the senior side and ninth overall.

Kuhn, a 2007 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate, complemented her 77 on Saturday at the FDCC with a four-over par 76 on Sunday at Lakeside to win the event presented by The Messenger by an impressive 11 strokes over defending champ Delaney Conrad.

Kuhn, whose maiden name is Sam Pingel, took runner-up honors here a year ago with an impressive 158 overall score. She improved that total by five shots this time around and left no doubt that the 2019 crown was hers for the taking.

“I can remember looking up to all of the (former champions here) when I was younger, and always hoping that I’d get my chance,” said Kuhn, a four-year varsity letterwinner for the Dodgers from 2004-07. “I putted really well (Saturday), then struggled with that part of my game (Sunday). But I had a lot of fun, and of course, it’s a great feeling to win a tournament this big.”

Kuhn erased two double bogeys at Lakeside with birdies at holes 6, 7 and 11.

Seven-time champ Kelsey Felch placed third.

Kuhlman showed a flair for the dramatic with a birdie at the par-5 18th hole on Sunday to edge good friend and playing partner Dee Cummins-Thiele by a single shot.

“I played OK, but just couldn’t get any putts to drop. That was kind of the way the whole weekend went for our whole group,” said Kuhlman, who took open division gold in 1991, 1998, 2000, ’01 and ’02, with senior championships coming in 2010, ’11, ’18 and ’19. “Dee is a terrific player, and I didn’t exactly know where we stood or what I needed until the end (to win).

“I made an eight-footer at 18 for birdie and that wound up being the difference. But I had to overcome too many three putts and a 9 I made (Saturday) after hitting two balls out of bounds.”

Kuhlman carded rounds of 86 and 84 to Cummins-Thiele’s 86-85.

“My game’s been kind of up and down this summer,” Kuhlman said. “I’ve been hitting more shag balls than playing on the course, but I have fun in a league (at Lakeside) and we really had a good time here (on Saturday and Sunday). This is such a fun tournament.”