PALM BEACH GARDENS — We wouldn’t call it a drought. Not when you’ve won the tournament 15 times.
But it had been four years since Susan Cohn won the Palm Beach County Women’s Amateur Championship. The Palm Beach Gardens resident cruised to an eight-shot victory Tuesday by playing tactical golf on the venerable Champion Course at PGA National Resort.
Cohn shot 79 in wild and windy conditions to finish at 11 over 157, eight ahead of ageless Marianne Springer (86-165). Players had to stop briefly when a storm that included hail hit the course, but it only delayed the inevitable.
Cohn beating the county’s top women’s amateurs.
“You always want to win,” Cohn said. “I mean, everybody wants to win. I could have played better, but I’m satisfied. I played smartly, and that’s what counts. You have to respect this golf course.”
Cohn won the PBCWAC for the first time in 2000, and she won it 12 consecutive times from 2007-2018. Denise Martorana won in 2019, the event was canceled in 2020 because of COVID and Carolina Hart beat good friend Cohn last year.
The win was special for Cohn because her name will be the first one engraved on the newly-created Larry Bush Memorial Trophy. Bush, a longtime sports writer for the Palm Beach Post-Evening Times, and amateur Lynn Taliaferro created the PBCWAC in the mid-1970s. Bush died last year at 87.
“I’ve known Larry since I was a teenager,” Cohn said. “My dad (Mel Hirsch) came out today to watch. We were talking about how much we missed Larry. My dad said, ‘He would have interviewed me, too.’
“Larry was such a warm, wonderful person and had a nice, quiet way about him. He was so knowledgeable. I always thought it was so amazing he knows so much information about us ladies.”
Bush’s daughter, Linda, was on hand to present the winning trophy to Cohn. It likely won’t be the last time.
Wendy Christensen (83-167) finished third and Hart (82) tied Autumn Neiszner (79) for fourth at 168. Amy Bender (86-180) won the First Flight.
Alexa Pano runner-up in second professional golf start
In just her second start as a professional, 17-year-old Alexa Pano of Lake Worth finished second Sunday in the Epson Tour’s Garden City Charity Classic in Kansas.
Pano birdied the 12th, 13th and 16th holes to cut Gabriella Then’s lead to a shot before Then eagled the 17th to clinch a two-shot victory.
Pano earned $19,234 to move into 15th on the Epson Tour’s money list ($20,046). The top 10 players at season’s end earn spots on next year’s LPGA Tour. Pano made it through the first stage of the LPGA Tour’s q-school, but was not allowed to go to the finals because she is not at least 18.
“I’m pretty satisfied with how I played,” Pano said. “Wish I could have got it done, but it’s OK. This is good momentum. If I have a lot more events like this, it’ll be a good season.”
Kamaiu Johnson, Latowski among U.S. Open qualifiers
Kamaiu Johnson, who was given a sponsor exemption into the 2021 Honda Classic, and amateur Joe Latowski of Port St. Lucie were among five golfers to advance Monday in a U.S. Open local qualifier at Pine Tree Golf Club in Boynton Beach.
Johnson, who is Black, won the Advocates Pro Golf Association Tour Championship in 2021. He overcame a tough childhood that included dropping out of school after eighth grade. Johnson shot 1-under 70 Monday and was fourth.
Anthony Brodeur of Canada was medalist at 65, followed by Chris Ingham (69) of Miami, amateur Will Block (69) of Plantation, Johnson and Latowski (71).