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Local

Age is no limitation at LHT

Kishwaukee's Ruth Heal tees off on No. 5 Saturday at the Women's Lincoln Highway Tournament at Prophet Hills Country Club. The 72-year-old Heal, who has won the tournament 21 times, tied for third this year.
Kishwaukee's Ruth Heal tees off on No. 5 Saturday at the Women's Lincoln Highway Tournament at Prophet Hills Country Club. The 72-year-old Heal, who has won the tournament 21 times, tied for third this year.

One of the fun aspects of the Women’s Lincoln Highway golf tournament is that age really doesn’t matter when it comes to determining who wins it.

Consider the final foursome on Saturday at Prophet Hills Country Club, and what a wide diversity there was. There were two young players in 29-year-old Mandy Curia and 18-year-old Abi Scheidecker, and two veterans in 63-year-old Mimi Boysen and 72-year-old Ruth Heal.

Curia led after the first day at +13, but struggled on Saturday with a score of +5 and was unable to hold onto the lead.

Scheidecker was the picture of consistency with scores of +10 each day, and was in the hunt for medalist honors until the very end. She relished the chance to try to beat Boysen and Heal, no matter their age, and they were nice about it to boot.

“I think it’s fun, but when I know they’re just as good as me, I compare them to people my age,” Scheidecker said. “I get just as nervous, and I know I have just as much competition. They are more encouraging, they’re a lot more laid-back, they compliment you after every shot – it’s very fun, and that’s why I play these tournaments. I feel a lot more comfortable and more welcome.”

Heal is a 21-time LHT champion, with victories in five different decades, and has competed in the Lincoln Highway somewhere between 45 and 50 times (she’s lost count).

One of the things that has kept her coming back is the chance to test herself against young kids, and at +19, she was more than competitive.

“What’s fun is to see how good the young girls are,” Heal said. “Some of them have told me they don’t have much for high school teams, and these things are important for them to play in. The kids are all nice, and they’re all really good players. I think it’s terrific.”

Of the players in the final foursome, Boysen was the shortest off the tee, well behind Curia and Scheidecker, and trailed Heal by a bit as well. She made up for it with good course management and a deft short game – and it got her medalist honors at +21.

“Ruth and I kept saying, ‘Yay for the old people,’” Boysen said. “If those two bombers were on the green in regulation and we’re not, but we chip and putt to get a point, yay for the old people. That’s another good thing about this tournament – it’s not just about youth.”

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