Shared from the 7/24/2019 Albany Times Union eEdition


Kahler returns to top with 8-shot win

Ballston Spa member credits Mansfield for aiding start in area golf





It had been 12 years since Sue Kahler last won a Northeastern Women’s Golf Association title, and when she returned to the winner’s circle Tuesday, one of her first calls was to a friend who got her interested.

Kahler, a Ballston Spa member, cruised to an eight-stroke victory in the 36-hole NEWGA Championship at McGregor Links. She checked in with Suzie Mansfield, a longtime NEWGA member who has been battling skin cancer.

“I wouldn’t be playing golf in this area if it weren’t for her,” Kahler said. “I met a number of people in a health department golf league way back in 1989, and they asked me if I’d like to join them, and I said yes. She happened to be playing in the league and asked me to play in a couple of tournaments, and we’ve been good golfing buddies since then.”

Kahler held a five-shot lead after the first round and carded a 3-over-par 75 to keep the field, which totaled 21 players, at bay.

She wished there had been 22.

“I feel bad that she’s not able to play as much as she used to,” she said of Mansfield. “It’s tough.”

For most of the years since she last won in 2007, Kahler, 60, has not played the championship. Work got in the way.

She recently retired, enabling her to play a lot more often and keep her short game sharp.

“There are so many tournaments in this area and western Massachusetts, I almost have to cut back a little,” Kahler said. “You can play too many, there are so many opportunities. It’s nice to be able to choose the ones that you really want to play rather than say I can’t play because of work.”

By her own admission, Kahler is a steady player — “I’m not always on the green in regulation, but because of that I get a lot of practice chipping” — who doesn’t give many shots away.

She parred the first six holes before hitting her drive out-of-bounds on No. 7. She returned to the tee and took a double-bogey 7, “which I felt like it was a par.”

Former champion Pat Mayne of Western Turnpike was the only player within striking distance. She got to within two shots at the turn with birdies at 7, 8 and 9, but Kahler kept putting up pars and inviting others to try to beat her. No one did.

“I tried to catch her,” Mayne said, “but she had too big of a lead. She didn’t leave many openings. I tried to take a few extra chances on the back (nine), and it didn’t always work out.”

Mayne, 57, also joined the retired ranks in February and is finding more chances to play.

“You play at different times,” she said. “You play during the week instead of on weekends. Every day’s the weekend.”

518-454-5416 @Pete_Dougherty

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