There’s no place like home, and for the women at Timber Creek Golf Course in Dixon, that rings truer than ever.
As they prepare for the 97th annual Ladies Lincoln Highway Tournament that will be held Friday and Saturday at Kishwaukee Country Club in DeKalb, the Timber Creek players have a home course. Play is tentatively scheduled to begin at Timber Creek on Saturday – weather and course conditions permitting.
Timber Creek was closed for the entire 2018 golf season, but that didn’t stop the course from fielding a team in the 2018 Ladies LHT held at PrairieView Golf Club in Byron.
“We’ve dreamed about this because we didn’t have a course to call our own for at least a year,” Timber Creek member Kristie Pultorak said. “To be called Timber Creek again is incredible. We were Dixon Ladies Golf last year, and it felt like we were cohesive and part of the community, but not really part of the club as we knew it.”
The whole situation was a bit clunky. Longtime course members had to play and practice elsewhere for the spring, summer and fall, but for one weekend, were all under the same umbrella.
Pultorak noted players from other clubs were on board with the arrangement.
“Last year, all of the other women from the other teams were very supportive of us,” Pultorak said. “Part of that is based on the fact that a lot of clubs are struggling with their own memberships, so they could empathize with us. Being in this tournament for 96 years, we owed it to the club to continue, in whatever shape or form.”
Timber Creek won team titles in 2016 and 2017, but were edged a year ago by Kishwaukee in Byron. Kish finished with a +118 best-against-bogey total, +18 more than Dixon Ladies Golf.
Kishwaukee returns its top two players in medalist Emma Carpenter and runner-up Mya Groza, as well as tournament veterans Ruth Heal and Donna Martin. Those four were a combined +95 last year.
Dixon must replace its First Flight player in Alina Llanas, who now lives in Rockford. Helping to replace Llanas are two Dixon High School players, senior Charlotte McCoy and junior Bella Heintzelman. Heintzelman tied for 31st at last fall’s Class 1A state tournament in Decatur.
Timber Creek will have to bring its ‘A’ game to take down Kishwaukee on its home course, but anything is possible.
“On my way here, I was thinking about that in my own little hallucination,” Pultorak said. “To beat them on their home course, even it’s by one point, would be fantastic. To tie them would be OK, too. We’ve got some young players that are really playing well. They’re the future of our team, and we’ve got some veterans who can also play. I really like our team.”
Mandy Curia will be taking over in the First Flight for Timber Creek, and is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.
“It will be a great course to play,” Curia said. “I had a chance to play a practice round, and it’s in beautiful condition. It’s a challenging course, and a very challenging home team, so it will be fun to try to keep up with them the best we can.
“We’ve got a great team this year – a lot of experience and some new talent – so we should do well.”