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Retterath didn't win, but she had a Lollypop round to remember

Published Oct. 12, 2005

Elizabeth Retterath's 8-over-par 77 on Tuesday at the Lollypop Invitational women's golf tournament will not go down as one of the more memorable outings in all of sport.

But sometimes, "all of sport" _ with its highlight videos, multimillion-dollar contracts and pay-per-view packages _ neglects its own essence.

Retterath, 50, plans to savor Tuesday's round for a lifetime.

So what if it was eight strokes over par?

For Retterath, a 14-handicapper from Black Diamond, it was ecstasy.

"Did you ever have one of those days where everything flows and you don't feel any pressure?" she asked. "That's what it was like."

Most amateur athletes have, at some point, had those days. But only rarely.

They are the days when balls pop crisply off the club face, or jump off the bat, or pour through the hoop.

Thing is, the crisp iron shots may only win first place in the second flight. The game-winning hit may come in the consolation game. The basket may fall in Saturday morning youth league.

But they are moments cherished no less than an LPGA Championship, World Series ring or NBA title.

More than 100 women covered the 18-hole course on Tuesday and Wednesday at Seven Rivers Golf and Country Club. Some left disappointed with their efforts. Others, like Retterath, were delighted.

So tickled was she to beat her average by six strokes on Tuesday that she didn't even sneak a peek at the scoreboard to see where she stood. The accomplishment in itself was accomplishment enough. Nothing could have spoiled it, nor made it more precious.

Tuesday rates right up there with the Black Diamond club championship she won in the spring, the hole-in-one she made this summer, and the best-ever 75 she shot six years ago.

Then came Wednesday.

Retterath followed her 77, which by the way put her in second place overall despite the fact she played not in the championship flight but the first flight, with an 83 _ exactly 14 strokes over par.

It was a bad day only in comparison to Tuesday.

"When you do it once, you want to do it two days in a row," said Retterath, who finished seven strokes behind overall gross winner Judi Meador's 153, but was tops in low net at 132.

"The day before, I had the proper attitude," said Retterath, whose Tuesday round included three birdies, a treat for any amateur. "Then I started thinking. I'm getting ready to take a trip to see my parents, so there was laundry to do last night and packing. It's all in the way you come into it."

But without days like Wednesday, and days when the score is six strokes above par, days like Tuesday would be nothing special.

"You played really well, both days," someone told Retterath after the tournament. "You should be proud of yourself."

Already munching popcorn and sipping a celebratory martini, Retterath said, "I am."