LOUDONVILLE – The daughter of Ed Kroll, the late, longtime head pro at Leatherstocking Golf Club, Nancy Kroll grew up around the game of golf. As a talented youngster, she was considered by some to be the next Dottie Pepper, the 17-time LPGA champion from Saratoga Springs, or multiple NYS women’s amateur champion Margaret Nevil.
But Kroll, once married to Pioneer Hills Golf Club head pro Rick Wolcott, actually walked away from her favorite sport on two different occasions. Once, she stopped playing because she was burned out from all of the high expectations. Later, she gave up the game to go back to school to get her Masters degree in education: “I just couldn’t afford to play when I went back to school. I didn’t even miss it for a while.”
Push the fast forward button and Kroll is once swinging the clubs competitively. She’s nearly at the top of her game again – at least good enough to win back her title as the Capital Area’s “queen” of golf.
Kroll, a Schenectady resident and a member of Pinehaven Country Club, battled some mental lapses to post a 12-over-par 84 in the final round to capture her sixth Northeastern Women’s Golf Association Championship Wednesday at Schuyler Meadows. Kroll, who shot a two-day total of 166, won by three shots over Heidi Harkins of Ballston Spa CC, who posted an 83 for a two-day total of 169.
Despite having a huge experience edge over the entire field, the former New York State Senior Women’s Amateur champion admitted that she allowed her mind to wander early in her round.
“To be honest, I was thinking about what it would be like to win my sixth title. I kept telling myself not to think about that and to focus on just playing golf, but I couldn’t help it,” Kroll said. “It’s such a mental game. I’d say 90 percent of golf is mental.”
Kroll started out slowly and shot 44 on the front nine. “I bogeyed the first hole, and I had some trouble putting again,” she said. “But then I kind of regrouped in the middle of my round. I almost birdied the 12th hole again, and I made a nice par on the 13th hole.”
But Kroll slipped up toward the end of her round: “I made two double bogeys today. It wasn’t pretty golf at all. I’m kind of mad at myself, because I didn’t play that well. But I guess I played just well enough to win.”
Kroll hasn’t had an official instructor since her father. She said she usually tweaks her own game on the driving range. “Sometimes, I hear my father’s voice telling me what to do with the fundamentals,” she said.
She said that although she had a solid season, winning several invitationals and challenging at both the NYS Women’s Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur, she knows she needs some help to push herself to the next level.
“For one thing, I know I need a new sand wedge,” she said. “I need a different wedge for playing out of the sand and making short shots around the greens. Also, I think I need some lessons from a pro. I don’t want to change my whole game, but I think I need a few improvements.”
Barbara Budelman (84-173) of Columbia G&CC won the second flight, Susan Johnson (96-185) of Pine Brook GC won the third flight and Deb Langevin (92-194) of Cobleskill G&CC took the fourth flight.
Gail Brophy, the 75-year-old two-time NYS Women’s Amateur and NYS Women’s Super Senior Amateur champion from Saratoga National, rebounded from a 53 on the front nine with a 40 on the back nine – despite being hooked up to an oxygen tank to battle the symptoms of the lung disease pulmonary fibrosis.
Nancy Kroll (Pinehaven CC) 82-84=166
Heidi Harkins (Ballston Spa CC) 86-83=169
Rachel Barlette (Shaker Ridge CC) 87-84=171
Kathy Harkins (Ballston Spa CC) 85-89=174
Jennifer DiIorio (Burden Lake CC) 91-85=176
Lisa Nielsen (Columbia G&CC) 90-102=192
Barbara Budelman (Columbia G&CC) 89-84=173
Caroline Merritt (Columbia G&CC) 85-90=175
Gail Brophy (Saratoga National GC) 90-93=183
Peg Squazzo (Burden Lake CC ) 91-95=186
Heather Morrison (Burden Lake CC) 95-100=195
Flo Liberatore (Western Turnpike GC) 98-103=201
Susan Johnson (Pine Brook GC) 89-96=185
Joan Taylor (Ballston Spa CC) 93-96=189
Mary Corrigan (Western Turnpike GC) 101-99=200
Donna Heskett (Burden Lake CC) 97-204=201
Bonnie St. Denis (Pinehaven CC) 100-101=201
Laurie Furlong (Burden Lake CC) 108-93=201
Ann Capobianco (Pinehaven CC) 105-97=202
Judy Mysliborski (Pinehaven CC) 106-101=207
Christine Brown (Winding Brook CC) 110-104=214
Deb DiMaggio (Ballston Spa CC) 111-113=224
Deb Langevin (Cobleskill G&CC) 102-92=194
Mary Assey (Ballston Spa CC) 98-101=199
Kathy McLaughlin (Shaker Ridge CC) 104-104=208
Judith Finley (Columbia G&CC) 110-108=218
Selena Balick (Shaker Ridge CC) 109-110=219
Myra Johnson (Winding Brook CC) 109-111=220
Betty Chiffolo (Pinehaven CC) 113-110=223