Christensen wins first Broward Women’s Am title

Wendi Christensen said winning her first Broward County Women’s Amateur golf championship at Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation was all she could ask for.

“It’s huge because I’m from Broward County,” said Christensen, who won state titles in 1990 and ’91 while at Taravella High School. “I’ve lived here the better part of my life. It was a tournament I always wanted to win.”

“This is also huge because it has been so long since I have won. Winning is not easy and being able to pull this over this finish line and make the putt on the last hole to win in competition is extremely gratifying.”

Christensen, 47, of Coral Springs, carded 79-83–162 to win by two over runner-up Vilma Sapp of Weston, who shot 85-79-164. Sapp, 70, was crowned the Senior Champion.

“I thought I had a chance to win because I have been playing well,” Christensen said. “I have focused on my fitness this past year and that has really helped my game improve.

“My daughter (Heidi, a Pompano Beach High School senior) and I played in two FSGA events this past week in Howey-in-the-Hills for fun and we did well in both of those, so I was feeling good. Finally, this tournament is for a great cause to support girls golf. Showing up, playing in friendly competition, and giving back is a win/win.”

Coral Springs’ Wendi Christensen blasts out of the sand on the 17th hole on the final day.

The mother-daughter combo won the Women’s Scramble One-Day at the Mission Inn Resort with a 65 and finished second in the Women’s Four-Ball One-Day Mission Inn Resort, both on April 14.

Christensen, a CPA, has played in the tournament “off and on” throughout the years. Her previous best finish was 15th.

“Today I hit my driver really well,” she said following her final round. “I was happy that we were out here playing, but sad that we weren’t exactly normal with the awards luncheon. I think we are on our way.

Sapp said the conditions were difficult. Both the East and West courses recently underwent six-month renovations.

“Today was much better than yesterday,” Sapp said. “It was a difficult challenge yesterday. I hit the ball much better, putted better and the drives were right down the middle. I was really happy with my game today. The scores were very high.

“The course was really challenging,” added Sapp, who has been a member at Jacaranda for 15 years. “It is kind of like my home course, and ever since they redid it, the course and the greens are really hard and you really have to launch the ball and hit it high. I had to change my game, but that’s okay. It was wonderful to have (the tournament) back.”

Parkland’s Maria Larrazabal, who celebrated her 61st birthday two days before the start of the 46th annual tournament, finished third on 85-80–165.

The 2020 tournament was canceled due to the pandemic. This year’s tournament featured 92 players in seven flights.

“Last year I was not playing well, so it was okay that we didn’t have the tournament,” said Larrazabal, who has played in the tournament for five years. “I was hitting the ball really well the first day, but I didn’t make the score and today it was the opposite, but I made a good score.

“You have players who challenge you. That was wonderful. I think it would have been better to have the whole thing with the luncheon, but I understand.”

Tournament chair Liz Porter said they were happy to play again.

“Not knowing what to expect when several changes were made to accommodate covid guidelines, both on the golf course and by forgoing an awards banquet,” Porter said, “we were happy to find our players enthusiastically filled the capped field of 90 to capacity quickly after registration was opened.

“We also received tremendous support from area golf courses and business ready to get back to business. Jacaranda’s beautifully and newly renovated two courses were the perfect venue to return to with our 2021 event. Looking across the expansive fairways filled with 90 women golfers from our community happily competing again was so good to see again.

“It was great to be back!”

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