MENOMINEE -Crackling thunder, the roar of EAA Warbirds and the piercing sound of the severe-weather horn provided a dramatic backdrop to the quarterfinal round of the Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association Championship Tuesday.
Jenny Smith and Marilyn Anderson of Ontonagon added their own dramatic flair with a down-to-the-final-hole showdown.
Smith rallied from 2-down after 14 holes to win the final four holes at Riverside Country Club.
"I'm a nervous wreck," Smith sighed while walking away from her second tight win in as many days. "Marilyn played awesome. I haven't been on my Sunday game."
The North Shore golfer will crash a Riverside house party in today's semifinals. Judy LaValley defeated Michelle Mansfield of Little River 5-and-4; Birgitta Dannberg edged Sue Polito of Riverside 3-and-1; and defending champion Syd Wells cruised to a 7-and-5 win over Sandra Collins of Sault Ste. Marie.
Smith will play LaValley, and Dannberg will meet Wells, in today's 8:30 a.m. semifinals. The finals will be held at about 1 p.m.
Anderson led Smith from the sixth hole and drained a 10-foot putt on No. 13, while Smith missed a 4-footer to go 2-up.
Anderson was closing in on a semifinal berth with her two-hole lead heading to the 15th tee, when the weather horn suspended play for 20 minutes.
The blast of the horn was a clarion call for Smith. The North Shore golfer hit the next four fairways, while Anderson's driver went awry on three of the final four holes.
Smith put her approach on 15 just 40 yards from the pin and tapped in a short putt to cut Anderson's lead in half.
Anderson found the sand on her second shot on the 16th hole, while Smith hit her iron shot on the green and evened the match with a short putt.
Smith drove her tee shot on 17 down the heart of the fairway, while Anderson found the bunker on the right. After hitting two balls into the tall grass, Anderson conceded the hole and Smith took a 1-up lead into the final hole
"It's like the movie 'Tin Cup,' " Anderson lamented as she approached the 18th tee. "That darned ball is going to get you one way or another."
Smith was sitting pretty in the fairway after her second shot on 18, while Anderson had to punch her way out of a bad lie in the tree line.
Anderson made a valiant bid to force a playoff hole when her 12-foot chip skirted the left side of the cup. Smith clinched the hard-fought semifinal berth when her 20-footer rolled to within two feet of the hole.
"I gave you a run for your money," Anderson said as the two golfers hugged on the final green.
After pressing during much of the match, Smith took the pressure off herself on the last four holes.
"I was just more relaxed," she said. "It was kind of ugly golf. I've been tense during the matches I've played this year. I was trying to control the club instead of letting the club do the work."
Smith lost to Wells in the 2002 finals at Little River and advanced to the semifinals at North Shore in 2004. Wells is shooting for her ninth title, while LaValley and Dannberg are in the semifinals for the first time.
LaValley came out on fire on her home course and had a four-hole lead over Mansfield heading into the back nine.
Mansfield turned in the shot of the day when her 75-foot chip from the fringe on No. 10 clanged against the pin and dropped in for a birdie to cut LaValley's lead to three.
LaValley and Mansfield both struggled on the back, but a string of errant drives wiped out Mansfield's momentum.
"It's a good thing I played well on the front because the back was pitiful," LaValley said. "My short game was good. I got up and down. That saved me a lot."
Mansfield gave it her best shot while taking on a home-course golfer.
"Judy's a great competitor. I knew I was the underdog. I think I tried too hard," the Little River club champion said.
Dannberg was surprised to make the championship flight, but her strong play Monday and Tuesday is the mark of a golfer with enough talent to win the Riverside club championship last year.
"I played my regular game," she said of her 3-and-1 win over Polito. "My chipping and putting was good. I hit some nice drives, but I didn't have much luck driving today.
"Sue is a tough player to beat. We were beside each other on almost every hole, side-by-side."
Wells cruised to a comfortable win for the second straight day.
"I like it nice and boring," she said with a smile. "I wasn't putting as well as I did Sunday, but I made some nice par saves."
Syd Wells (Riverside) def. Sandra Collins (Sault Ste. Marie) 7-5
Jenny Smith (North Shore) def. Marilyn Anderson (Ontonagon), 2-up
Judy LaValley (Riverside) def. Michelle Mansfield (Little River) 5-4
Birgitta Dannberg (Riverside) def. Sue Polito (Riverside) 3-1
Semifinal Pairings (seeds in parentheses):
Wells (1) vs. Dannberg (5)
Smith (2) vs. LaValley (6)
Barb Blewett (Wawonowin) def. Cathy Shamion (Ontonagon), 6-5
Jan Shetter (Riverside) def. Pat Stark (L'Anse), 4-3
Jan Hruska (Marquette) def. Janet LeClaire (L'Anse), 6-5
Karen McCorkle (Gladstone) def. Jenny Gagnon (Oak Crest), 3-2
JoAnne Zelm (Riverside) def. Lisa Froehlich (Riverside), 5-4
Tina Weiland (Wawonowin) def. Rosie Spndler (Gladstone), 3-2
Pam Caron (Gladstone) def. Donna Steele (Oak Crest), 5-3
Janet Sbar (North Shore) def. Maria Busakowski (Iron River), 3-2
Consolation: Freohlich vs. Spindler
Linda Derocher (Wawonowin) def. Colleen McClellan (Sault Ste. Marie), 1-up
Doncie Richards (Wawonowin) def. Pat Roberts (Wawonowin), 4-2
Jane Dickow (Ontonagon) def. Bette Gordon (Riverside) 5-4
Annetta Hultman (Riverside) def. Michelle Wagner (Little River), 5-4
Consolation: McClellan vs. Roberts
Nancy Mullins (Riverside) def. Jeanette Elliot (Oak Crest), 2-1
Marge Holgate (Soo, Canada) def. Pam Booth (The Oaks), 7-5
Judy Kirt (North Shore) bye
Doreen Hubbard (North Shore) def. Chris Aichner (Oak Crest), 3-2
Consolation: Elliot vs. Booth
Peggy Koski (Wawonowin) def. Mariam Dannenmueller (Sault Ste. Marie), 19 holes
Dot Phillips (Ontonagon) def. Sandy Butler (Gladstone), 1-up
Patricia McGregor (George Young) bye
Jenny Kellner (Riverside) def. Cheryl Melka (Wawonowin), 4-3
Consolation: Dannenmueller vs. Butler
Vickie Lobeck (Portage) def. Gail Trumble (Sault Ste. Marie), 20th hole
Sheila Via (Oak Crest) def. Diane Bell (Wawonowin), 6-5
Carol Smith (North Shore) bye
Tricia Irvine (The Oaks) def. Sharon Laundry (Sault Ste. Marie) 1-up
Consolation: Trumball vs. Bell
Betty DiFore (Gladstone) def. Nancy Alfredson (Riverside), 5-4
Linda Dugas (Sault Ste. Marie) def. Amy Hodges (Calumet), 2-1
Ginger LaRock (Iron River) bye
Fern Cerutti (Sault Ste. Marie) def. Carol Schrader (Sault Ste. Marie) 6-5
Consolation: Alfredson vs. Hodges