HIBBING — Kristen Sundvall was no stranger to winning the Mesaba Country Club Women’s Club title.
Sundvall, or Hyduke as is her maiden name, was a three-time winner of the event, but she hadn’t played in the tournament the past five years.
Her return to the tournament turned out to be a positive one as Sundvall defeated Paulette Perkovich 4-and-3 to capture her fourth title Sunday at the Mesaba Country Club.
The first time Sundvall won the tournament was 17 years ago, before she married her husband Scott.
Even though she had been in the winner’s circle before, she was a little intimidated by her competition.
“Paulette is a good golfer, and she’s intimidating,” Sundvall said. “She’s a 28-time champ. She’s fun to play with. I thanked her afterward for challenging me mentally.”
Mentally in the fact that Sundvall wasn’t exactly on her game during the first nine holes.
“I would say I didn’t have my game ready to go,” Sundvall said. “I hadn’t played in quite awhile, so I beat up on myself for the first nine holes. I three-putted five different holes, so we ended up tied after nine.
“I decided to forget that she was there, and I played by myself. It was easy after that. It was all in my head.”
Once Sundvall started thinking about her game, everything came together.
“That’s all it really is,” Sundvall said. “She said afterwards, ‘I can't beat you. You just beat yourself.’ She’s right. I do. I 3-putted five holes on the front nine. I should have been up, but it was the worst nine holes I’ve played all year.
“It was nice to be able to refocus and get myself back together. I didn’t watch her shots. I didn’t count her shots. I pretended she wasn’t playing, and I played my own game. At that point it’s easy because I love golf. It’s easier to play the game when you’re by yourself.”
In the semifinals, Sundvall defeated Terry Gornick 6-and-5.
“This is the first time playing in the weeknd format, so that was nice,” Hyduke said. “It’s nice as my kids get older, this was my first time playing without a child with me. I’ve always had a kid in my cart. That was nice.”
Perkovich beat defending champion Emily Brownell in the semifinals.