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Pinehurst bound: Marquette’s Sheila Grazulis trekking to North Carolina to golf in PGA National Club Championship

Sheila Grazulis, left, and Karla McCutcheon stand together during their finals match of the Marquette Golf Club’s Ladies Club Championship on Aug. 30 at the club’s Heritage course. Grazulis won her first club title. (Photo courtesy Karla McCutcheon)

“I just want to try to keep it in the fairway.” — SHEILA GRAZULIS, Marquette resident, on her approach to playing at the PGA National Club Championship

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MARQUETTE — A Marquette teacher and accomplished amateur golfer will rub elbows with some of the best amateur golfers in the country on a late winter trip to North Carolina.

Sheila Grazulis will travel to Pinehurst to participate in the PGA National Club Championship at the famed Pinehurst Resort and Country Club No. 2.

It’s been the site of several Grand Slam pro tournaments over the years.

Competitors play 18 holes over three consecutive days at three of the resort’s courses, including No. 2, starting Saturday.

That’s quite a bit of golf for a Marquette Area Public Schools teacher who hasn’t had a chance to take time off to play a “real” round of golf all winter.

“I’m super excited to see these courses, I know they hosted the 2014 U.S. Open for both men and women,” Grazulis said on Wednesday. “But I have pretty low expectations for myself.”

Grazulis qualified for this tournament by winning the Marquette Golf Club Ladies Club Championship tournament last August, defeating Karla McCutcheon in the final match for her first club title.

“I’ve been a member for 13 or 14 years, but this is the first time I’ve won the club title,” she said.

The victory got her an invitation, but she still has to pay to travel to and stay in North Carolina for the duration of the tournament.

“Well, when the GLIAC said they wouldn’t allow any fans for their basketball games this winter, I figured there was some money saved,” she said.

That’s because she and husband Marius have several children, all Marquette Senior High School graduates, who currently play or used to play in that collegiate league. Currently, they are Marius at Grand Valley State and Vejas at Ferris State.

In the past few years, she’s also followed her older children, Daina and A.J., when they played at Grand Valley and Michigan Tech, respectively.

“When I found out about that (no travel to GLIAC games), I decided it is something I’d like to do,” Sheila Grazulis said of the national golf event.

“That was around the end of October. But then when I tried to enter, I had to go on a waiting list.”

Eventually, she gained a spot on the regular list for the open Women’s Division in January.

“Looking online, I see I’m playing with golfers from Idaho, California and Ohio,” she said.

Altogether, there are 312 golfers in four divisions, men’s, women’s, senior men’s and senior women’s, and she said she saw there were 56 women in her division.

“I also noticed looking at the participant list that the ages range from 13 to 77,” she said.

She also noticed some of the players’ accomplishments that were listed.

“There was one golfer who made nine birdies in a row,” she said, laughing.

Asked what strength she is bringing to North Carolina, she said, “My length. I usually can hit it for distance. Down there, though, I just want to try to keep it in the fairway.”

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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