Fox claims tournament win in Florida

PHOTO SUBMITTED Cheryl Fox, a 1984 Columbian High School graduate, competes.

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Cheryl Fox didn’t go into the final round of the Florida Women’s Open and Senior Open thinking about winning.

The 1984 Columbian High School graduate had a rough start at the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club. Senior tournament, firing a 73 on the first day of the three-round tournament. She rebounded to shoot a 69 in the second round Saturday. That put her three strokes behind Laurie Rinker for the lead.

“When I was three back, I was really just trying to shoot another good round and maintain my place in second,” Fox said. “That would be the honest truth.”

Then, she said, things shifted.

Playing with Rinker and Tammie Green, two Legends Tour players with 29 professional wins between them, Fox was at her best. She shot a four under on the front 9.

“I was three back, and unfortunately Laurie’s putting didn’t hold up,” Fox said. “She had some tough putting, which was one of my problems from the first round.”

Fox finished with a 68 Sunday, putting her two shots better than Rinker, and four shots better Green. She said it was her first victory since taking the Ohio Open in 2006.

Fox said she wasn’t sure she’d won the event until after walking off the green. There were no scoreboards on the course.

“I walked off the green, that’s when someone congratulated me, and I said, ‘Well, I don’t even really know,'” Fox said, “and she said, ‘No, you’ve won.'”

It wasn’t exactly a crazy celebration moment.

“It was kind of anti-climactic, but I had a nice gallery there,” she said.

The golfer — who also works at Fostoria Country Club — said the win may not have happened had she not gotten some assistance from a member at a course she works at in Florida.

“After the first round, I wasn’t happy with my irons, so one of my members offered his irons, with graphite shaft,” she said. “I took them out and hit a few balls, and I said, ‘You know what?, I think I’ll have more confidence with these.’ And I shot a 7-under with his clubs.

“They felt a lot like my old irons, that I had just changed out of a month ago, and I just hadn’t gotten really comfortable with these new irons yet,” she said. “It made a world of difference.”

Fox said she wants to keep playing and is looking into getting sponsor exemptions.

“Very rewarding,” she said of the victory. “And it doesn’t do anything but add fuel to the fire.”