COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 30, 2011) -- Mary Doyen didn't want to rain on anyone's parade, but before the start of a scheduled playoff that was supposed to decide the CWGA Senior Stroke Play champion, she had something important to say to a tournament official Tuesday afternoon.
And though she certainly didn't phrase it this way, the basic implication was straightforward: Why are three fellow competitors going to play off when I've already won?
The point was well-taken, and after all the scores were confirmed, the playoff was nixed and Doyen was declared the champion by one stroke.
"I'm still kind of in shock," the 59-year-old from Denver said minutes later.
Indeed, after Doyen shot an 84 in Monday's first round at Colorado Springs Country Club, the last thing on her mind was winning the title. With 18 holes left, she was in eighth place and trailed leader Cindy Pallatino by seven strokes.
"I didn't have any thought that I would win," Doyen said.
But a nifty 1-over-par 74 on Tuesday -- the best final-round score by four shots -- combined with the leaders faltering a bit changed the complexion of the tournament. Still, the lead threesome -- Pallatino (pictured at left), Sue Davis and 2011 CWGA Senior Match Play champion Laurie Steenrod -- had no idea about Doyen's comeback. And when all three tied at 13-over-par 159, a playoff was organized and they were set to go -- until Doyen pointed out the problem.
"I'm not sure the three of us could have taken another hole anyway," Davis said. "We threw a lot of shots away."
With Doyen posting a 158 total, Pallatino, Davis and Steenrod had to settle for a second-place tie, one behind the champion. Steenrod (pictured at left) closed with a 78, while Davis had an 80 and Pallatino an 82.
"First off, congrats to Mary," Pallatino said. "A 74 is a great round on the final day."
And it resulted in the biggest victory ever for Doyen, who placed second to Kim Eaton in the Senior Stroke Play last year.
"I'm absolutely elated," she said. "This is probably the biggest golf thrill I've had in my life. This is the pinnacle. And I'm 59 so it gets harder every year."
Playing two groups ahead of the leaders, Doyen went even par over her last 16 holes Tuesday and finished her second round with three birdies. "I just played pretty darn well -- about as good as I could play," she said.
"I think it might have helped" not playing with the first-day leaders, Doyen added. "I was only playing against myself. I wasn't thinking about anything else. I was just trying to shoot a good score. The pressure of being in there and knowing what was going on (with the leaders) might have been more than I wanted."
Not only was Doyen not thinking about winning the tournament, she said wasn't even keeping track of her score.
"I never thought of anything but one hole at a time," said Doyen, who plays out of both Foothills and Broken Tee Englewood. Even afterward, the possibility of victory didn't enter her mind. "I was just so proud of myself for shooting 74 that I didn't think about anything else. "
It was quite a different mindset than she had after carding an 84 on Monday.
"I was playing so bad I was ready to pack my bags and go back home," she said.
While Doyen had a very good final round, Pallatino, Davis (pictured at left) and Steenrod each could point to key letdowns in the stretch run that may have cost them the title. Pallatino dropped six shots to par in the last five holes, Davis went 3 over in the last three and missed a two-foot par putt on No. 16, and all three players bogeyed No. 18.
"What typically happens on the last day when you have three people who think they're the ones who are competing (for the title), you get a goofy kind of karma going on," observed Pallatino, a former member at Colorado Springs Country Club. "Unfortunately, ours wasn't very positive."
Pallatino, who held a four-stroke lead with five holes remaining, was left with a second-place showing for the umpteenth time in her career.
"I like being a bridesmaid, I guess," said Pallatino, who did win the senior division of the 2008 CWGA Match Play. "It's so bad that when I moved into my house in Scottsdale (Ariz.), my little neighbor friend next door said, 'Why do you have so many runners-up (trophies)?'"
Three of the top four finishers Tuesday -- Doyen, Steenrod and Davis -- all recently qualified for the USGA Senior Women's Amateur that will be played Sept. 10-15 in Oolteewah, Tenn.
View results for Colorado Women's Senior Stroke Play Championship