ST. CHARLES – Dawn Zappitelli tore away from her job as president of Heartland Counseling Center in Elburn and headed for Pottawatomie Golf Course on Tuesday morning.
Business developers, substitute teachers, homemakers and other contemporaries joined her for the Pottawatomie Ladies League as they do each week. Not everyone realized the St. Charles Women's Tournament title also was on the line, making for another leisurely nine holes.
"Golf is good therapy," Zappitelli said, "even for therapists."
Retiree Barb Christian emerged as the fitting winner, shooting a 48 and defeating Donna Lengle by scorecard playoff. Christian carded a 7 on the ninth hole to Lengle's 8, but it was apparent scorekeeping was perfunctory.
Cheers of "Nice one!" and "There ya go!" provided the soundtrack for an event that could use the enthusiasm.
On the heels of several lean years – including a six-golfer turnout in 2011 – Pottawatomie pro Ron Skubisz and assistant Bill Ogiego folded the women's tournament into the league schedule for the second successive summer.
"We've done whatever we can to accommodate, to keep the tournament going and accommodate as many women as we can," Ogiego said. "So we just moved it to Tuesday and just said, 'Hey, ladies, guess what: You're in the tournament.'
Skubisz's 23-year-old daughter, Katie, and former tourney champ Barb Lyon, 82, were the lone outside entrants. The part-time Pottawatomie employees shared a cart as the final group on the course.
They fit right in.
"I love playing with Barb," Katie Skubisz said. "I mean, we're just out here to have fun, just because we love the game. Taking it lightly, just carefree."
Skubisz, a family and consumer sciences major entering her senior year at Eastern Illinois, still lent some suspense as rain moved in on the final holes around noon. Her 49 was one stroke off the leaders, the same score as Roberta Wright.
Wright, whose child-rearing days are in the rearview, has enjoyed more time to golf and play tennis with her son and daughter, now in their mid-20s.
She hones her skills in both sports while spending winters with her husband in Bluffton, S.C.
"It's a great golf community, tennis community, so we get to do both of my favorite things," Wright said. "So we've been very fortunate that way."
The 63-year-old Christian, a second-year league member, relied on "many, many years" of golfing experience – including 18 at Pottawatomie – en route to a personal-best round at St. Charles' public riverside course.
She recorded pars on the par-3 fourth hole and par-4 fifth hole and stayed out of trouble apart from No. 3, which requires players to shoot over the Fox River to reach the green.
"All my shots were good and I had a lot of one-putts, so that helped me," Christian said. "The water hole wasn't very well, but this was my best score."
In its heyday, the women's tournament adopted a multi-weekend format of qualifying and match play similar to the city's men's tournament.
League members, who compete in their own tournament near the end of the session each August, haven't minded the recent change.
"It's an easy league. People just come, they golf, we have a little luncheon [Aug. 13], and that's the end," longtime treasurer Lynne Allicino said. "It's a nice, easygoing league."