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Duluth woman wins golf invitational

Alison Meyer of Duluth believes she's ready to give professional golf a try. She has the support of opponents in the 49th Northland Women's Invitational which ended Wednesday at Northland Country Club.

Alison Meyer
Alison Meyer of Duluth hits the ball Wednesday during the Northland Women's Invitational at Northland Country Club. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Alison Meyer of Duluth believes she's ready to give professional golf a try. She has the support of opponents in the 49th Northland Women's Invitational which ended Wednesday at Northland Country Club.

Meyer, 22, a recent graduate of Ferris State in Big Rapids, Mich., shot a final-round 1-over-par 72 for a winning 36-hole total of 9-over 151. Kelsie Passolt of Hayward, entering her sophomore year at Northern Illinois University, was second at 157 after a 77.

"Alison has what it takes; she's like a machine," Passolt said. "She's serious, she's passionate, she knows how to get out of trouble on the course and just grinds it out."

Here's what Meyer has done the past two years as she heads to the Futures Tour qualifying school Nov. 2-6 in Polk County, Fla.: finished seventh in two straight NCAA Division II tournaments while being named Ferris State MVP twice, won the 2008 Minnesota Women's Amateur and won the 2009 Minnesota Women's Match Play title a week ago in Lake City.

She's 2-for-2 in women's events this summer and claimed her first Northland Invitational championship on a longer, drier course than golfers faced Tuesday. A rain-delayed opening round made for miserable conditions as Meyer shot 79, but she was six strokes better than anyone in the eight-player championship flight Wednesday.

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"Today I hit the ball so well; it's the kind of golf I'll need to play at qualifying school," said Meyer, who has a zero handicap at Ridgeview Country Club, the lowest of her career. "I'll work on my putting and my short game, because those are the areas where the pros stand out. I think I'm very close to being ready for the next step. I just need to relax and play my best."

After trailing by one shot after the first day, Meyer forged a one-shot lead through nine holes of the second round at Northland. She pulled away to a comfortable advantage in trading some bogeys with Passolt on the concluding holes. Paige Bromen, 22, of Stillwater, Minn., a University of Minnesota senior golfer last spring, was third at 159 with a closing 80.

Passolt, 19, was the No. 3 player for Northern Illinois as a freshman in 2009 and was a Division I academic All-American with a 3.8 grade-point average, majoring in broadcast journalism. She's a 4 handicap at Hayward Golf and Tennis Club, and plays at Black Bear Golf Club in Minong, owned by her family.

"At the beginning of the college season I was a wreck because it was my first year, and then got more comfortable with every week. I got so much experience and ended up having a great year," Passolt said. "I didn't break 80 in playing [at Northland] last year, so I'm happy with a 77."

Norma O'Leary of Silver Bay finished fourth at 160, followed by defending champion Betsy Aldrich of St. Louis Park, Minn., fifth at 164.

Meyer has two more tournaments before qualifying school -- the Michigan PGA Women's Open on Aug. 35 at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Mich., and the 38th Minnesota Women's Amateur on Aug. 10-12 in Winona.

"I originally wasn't going to play at Northland, but my dad said it could be one of my last events in the area [as an amateur], so I called and asked if I could get in. I'm glad I did," Meyer said.

The Futures Tour began in 1999 to develop players for the LPGA Tour. The 2009 Futures Tour has 17 tournaments with total prize money of $1.8 million.

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Complete results are in Scoreboard, Page A12.

Related Topics: GOLF
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