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2013 BIRCHMONT PREVIEW: Taberry more relaxed as she sets out to defend title

BEMIDJI -- Missy Tabery's emotional victory at the 2012 Birchmont Women's Championship division wasn't easy.

Tabery, playing in her first-ever final as the No. 9 seed, went back and forth with Elizabeth Storm before Storm sank a birdie putt on the 18th hole to send the match into overtime.

Tabery went on to win the match on the first extra hole.

The Wadena native was excited to win last year but it was rough. Her dad passed away during the tournament but she was able to overcome it and win it all.

"Last year was kind of an emotional time because my dad was in the hospital," Tabery said. "He ended up passing away during the quarterfinal.

"It was kind of bittersweet. My dad had never seen me golf so it was nice to win."

This year, Tabery won't have that kind of pressure on her in the Women's Championship division. As the defending champion, she's much more relaxed.

"I don't have to qualify this year. That's usually my bad thing," she said. "Usually I play well but having a tough opponent right away since I shoot a terrible round in the qualifying. So I'm excited I don't have to do that this year."

She is going to play Tuesday during qualifying just to get a feel for the course. She was able to see Bemidji Town and Country Club back in May when she was coaching the Wadena-Deer Creek High School golf team.

"I'm hoping on Tuesday I can figure out how the greens are," she said. "Maybe they won't be quite as fast as they normally are. You usually have to stay below the pins and see what happens."

Storm isn't returning to the field this year but Tabery said the field is very strong.

"The field looks great," she said. "It's not as big as it usually is but all the ladies entered this year are very good golfers. It's going to be a challenge to win it again."

As of Friday there were 14 players entered in the women's division.

"Hopefully they can get a few more in there too," Tabery said. "It's a good field already though, they're all good golfers.

"I love this tournament so I'm excited to be back up there."

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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