Tiffin native Fox ties for 16th at Pine Needles

US Women's Senior Open

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Putting wasn’t easy for Cheryl Fox at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles.

She ranked 43rd in putting this past weekend.

But when she needed a birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday, she did what she had to do.

She made a 3 on 18. It was her only birdie of the day.

But it was an important one.

She finished with a 301 for the weekend. But the final putt tied her for 16th in the tournament. By being in the top 20, Fox said she was told she gets an automatic invitation to the tournament next year.

Fox, a 1984 Columbian High School graduate, finished 16 shots off the lead. Helen Alfredsson won the Open, finishing with a one over par 285, two shots ahead of Juli Inkster.

Fox said it was a challenging tournament for pretty much everyone.

“Everybody had their struggles at certain points, even the ones that shot even, or even (Alfredsson),” Fox said. “I’m sure there were times when she — I didn’t see her scorecard for any of the days — but I’m sure that there were…I’m sure she had to get up and down a number of times.”

Fox had a strong tournament in a number of areas. She was fourth in driving and 11th in hitting greens in regulation.

But what Fox seemed most pleased with was her attitude throughout the weekend.

“That happened for us very nicely,” she said. “Mike (O’Connor), who’s my caddie, said that is what he was most proud of, was that my demeanor was much different than normal. Normally, after things go bad for a little while, I would just kind of give in and throw in the towel, but every day I bounced back pretty well.”

At the 2018 Open last July, Fox opened with an 86. She played very well on the second day, shooting a 74, but didn’t make the cut.

This year’s tournament was different. She shot a first-round 75, and was just three shots off the lead. She carded a 78 Friday, but made the cut and had her best round Saturday, a 73. She finished the tournament with a 75 Sunday.

Fox will be heading back to Ohio, but not for long. Next week she’s set to play in the Colorado state open, and is planning to play in a number of state opens this spring and summer.

“I feel very good,” Fox said.

She’s playing that way, too.