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Palmiscno, Sheetz advance to final

MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER Katie Sheetz overcame the rain, wind, cold and Mary Harris and advanced to today's Women's Championship final.

BEMIDJI -- Jenny Palmiscno and Emily Israelson have spent more time than most women around a golf course and the cousins have developed a friendly rivalry.

"Emily's been trying to beat me for a few years," Palmiscno, who is the elder of the two, said. "But I'm not ready for that yet."

On Friday the two rivals met in the Birchmont Women's Championship semifinals and 19 holes were needed to determine a winner. Palmiscno opened a 3-up lead after the 13th hole but Israelson won No. 14 and No. 16 and forced extra holes with a conceded birdie on No. 18.

"I lipped out par putts on 14 and 16 and on 18 I almost hit my second shot into the parking lot," Palmiscno said. "I was choking."

The Birchmont veteran reversed her fortunes on the first extra hole, however, as she sank a long birdie putt from the fringe to close out her cousin.

"Emily was trying her hardest to beat me and I was trying my hardest not to let that happen," Palmiscno said. "I was falling apart pretty badly at the end and it was awesome when that putt went in."

Friday's victory vaulted Palmiscno into her fourth Birchmont Women's Championship final and today she will face Katie Sheetz of Grand Rapids who nipped Mary Harris of Billings, Mont. 1-up Friday.

The Women's title match will begin at 8:40 a.m.

Sheetz, who will be a sophomore this fall at Minnesota-Crookston, is making her first appearance in the Birchmont although she has wanted to play in the tournament for a few years.

"Being from Grand Rapids and playing college for Crookston I have played the course a ton and it's always been a goal to play in the Birchmont," Sheetz said. "Last year I wanted to play but I had a conflict with a Junior tournament in the Twin Cities. But now that I'm done with the Junior tournaments I can play in the Birchmont."

Sheetz has followed an interesting pattern on way to today's final. In each of her matches she has trailed at the turn but has been able to rally down the stretch and claim a victory.

"I'm actually a little surprised to be in the final because I was down in all of my matches and had to come back to win them," Sheetz said. "I think I like the layout of the back nine better than the front and maybe that's why I've been able to come back and win."

Palmiscno knows that she will have to play better to finally claim her first Birchmont crown while Sheetz' goal is to stick with her game plan.

"I'm excited to be back in the final," Palmiscno said. "It's been a good week so far and it's not over yet but I know I'll have to play better Saturday than I did on Friday to win."

"I just want to do what I've been doing," Sheetz said. "I was want to play a steady game and hit the ball straight."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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