Kim Shafer had just lost a playoff in the 2003 Women's Kentucky Open when she said, ”I keep getting close (to winning), and one of these days, it's going to happen.“
Shafer will try again this week when the 12th annual Open tees off Tuesday and Wednesday at Spring Valley Golf Club.
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Shafer, a teaching pro at Hurstbourne Country Club in Louisville, has been a top-10 finisher in eight of the nine Opens she has entered. She has been second twice, including last year.
Her record is even more impressive because the teaching profession allows her little time to practice and play in tournaments. She has played four 18-hole rounds this year but hopes to have a practice round Monday at Spring Valley.
”Nowadays I'm so busy teaching and being a mom that my golf game hasn't come first,“ she said. ”Certainly I'd love to win the Open. It's at the top of my priority list, but it's hard to find the time I need to prepare for it.
”I've had a couple of really close calls for second and when I made the playoff. But it's hard for me to compete against a lot of younger players who are out there every day practicing and playing.“
Kimberly Anne Tyrer Shafer grew up in Kentucky, winning a state high school championship in 1987 for Franklin County. She played four years at Wake Forest, then became a teaching pro.
”When I was in high school, my goal was to play the tour,“ she said. ”But I'd traveled so much playing national events and in college. I'm more of a homebody and didn't feel all that suited to the tour. I went into more of the business side of golf, and it's been good.“
Shafer's husband, Steve, is head professional at Hurstbourne, and the couple own the pro shop.
”We do a lot of merchandising to meet the members' needs and offer them a good selection,“ she said. ”A lot of that entails seeing vendors and doing the buying. Golf is a booming business.“
Shafer tries to take time off from teaching from November through February ”when I'm kind of "Super Mom,' “ she said.
”I'm in the PTA and volunteer at my son's school. I'm really involved with his activities. (Pearson is 7.) I try to make my schedule flexible enough so I can make it to his games.
”But I hate to say no to people when they want to learn the game. Maybe I'll practice five minutes here or there between lessons. I cram a lot of lessons into an eight-month period.“
Shafer was rewarded for her work when she was named 2007 Kentucky PGA Golf Teacher of the Year.
When Shafer gets a chance to play in a few tournaments, she considers it a vacation.
”I still like to play competitive golf even if I'm not at my sharpest,“ she said. ”I like to go out and challenge myself and have a lot of fun.“
The Fifth Third Bank tournament includes 12 professionals and a group of talented high school and college players and former champions.
Past champs include Laura Anderson, Mandy Goins, Christine Ridenour, Cathy Edelen (twice) and Heather Kraus. Anderson, a sophomore at the University of Louisville, recently won the Women's State Amateur.
Defending Open champion Whitney Wade, a member of the Duramed Futures Tour, will not compete. She had a top-60 finish in the U.S. Women's Open last month.
Ashlee Rose, who will be a freshman at the University of Kentucky, won the Marion Miley Invitational at Lexington Country Club last week.