Jenny Gleason looked like she had ice in her veins as she walked up the 18th fairway at Beaver Meadow Golf Course in the one-hole playoff that would decide the 2012 Northeast Delta Dental International. She approached her ball at 99 yards out and hit a gap wedge to within six inches of the hole. When asked how she dealt with such a pressure-filled situation, the ever-quotable Gleason said it best.
“Pressure’s something you put in tires.”
Gleason found herself in a playoff with Volvik Race for the Card Rankings No. 1 Esther Choe after she bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 and missed a six-foot birdie putt in regulation on 18 to win.
“I was pretty shocked when she missed that putt, but I just said ‘alright let’s go play some more golf,’” said Choe who finished with a 1-under 71.
The pair was carted up to the 18th tee box to play out what would be the rest of the tournament and delivered some exciting play for the Concord fans.
Gleason hit first from the fairway and delivered nearly the shot of the tournament, which Choe thought went in the hole, considering the thunderous roar of applause from the crowd.
“I was like, ‘congrats Jenny’ then she told me it didn’t go in,” said Choe.
Choe hit her approach shot 30 feet right of the pin and knew she would have to make a perfect putt to stay in it.
“It came out perfectly and I thought it was going in,” said Choe of her lip out putt.
Gleason admitted to holding her breath during the putt.
“Esther is such a great player and is having a phenomenal year,” said Gleason. “She’s already won twice and I said to Allison (Fouch), ‘she can make this, don’t count her out.’ And she hit the lip.”
Gleason tapped in for her third-career victory and first since 2005. Asked where the win ranks in accomplishments in her career, she said it’s amazing to see the dedication pay off.
“This one is big,” said Gleason. “It’s neat when you work hard and you make changes and you finally see results. It always seems like it’s the other side of the story where you’re making changes and you struggle and struggle and feel like you’re doing the right things. You just gotta stick with it.”
Gleason, who is an LPGA Tour member and has made six starts this season, said it’s a matter of staying tough against a game that tends to try to bring you down.
“My swing coach in Texas is going to be very pleased with this,” said Gleason. “I just saw him at the U.S. Open a couple weeks ago and he said ‘you’re swinging good, don’t’ let a bad round get you totally down. Golf is brutal; it really is. It will beat you up unfortunately.”
Gleason was disheartened after a rough going at Blackwolf Run at the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks ago and was in no mood to make the trek to Concord to try to get back on track. With some encouraging words from her coach and friends, it turned out to be a solid decision on returning to ‘the Beav.’
“I wasn’t even 100 percent on playing this week,” said Gleason. “I was very, very upset with how the U.S. Open went down. I’m pretty happy I decided to come.”