VALPARAISO | Natalie Achten wasn’t happy with her final round in the ladies championship of the Porter Amateur at Valparaiso Country Club, but with the ordeals she’s gone through, it’s a miracle she is able to golf at all.
Achten shot a 96 to end with a 72-hole score of 354, winning the Porter Am in her first year competing in it.
Two years ago, while working at U.S. Steel, Achten severely injured her left shoulder, and her doctor told her she’d never be able to golf again.
Achten’s surgeon, Dr. David Musgrave, was able to surgically repair her shoulder, and after a year of rehabilitation, she was able to golf again.
“A year ago to the day of my surgery, I played 36 holes and broke 80 both rounds,” Achten said. “That’s what I owe winning the Porter Am to David Musgrave and my father (Jeff Minard).”
Working midnights at U.S. Steel, Achten was golfing on minimal sleep.
However, she still held off Donna Howell, who shot an 87 to finish second with 356 strokes.
“I got off work this morning at 11 (a.m.) and came straight here,” Achten said. “I just couldn’t stay concentrated, because I was tired. The greens were fast, and it was hard to stop the ball.”
On the men’s side, one of the oldest competitors emerged victorious.
Valparaiso resident Carl Kalinka, 58, fired a 1-over-par 73 on Sunday, ending his 72-hole tournament with a 297 to hold off second-place Jason Schwerdt, who shot a 299 after a final-round score of 74. It was Kalinka’s third Porter Am victory. He won for the first time in 1975 before capturing it again in 2009.
“I made three bogeys and two birdies today, so it was good,” said Kalinka, who is a manager at the Dunes Club in New Buffalo, Mich. “I hit the ball well and didn’t really get myself in any trouble. It was between me and Jason, basically. There’s a lot of good golfers in Valpo.”
In the men’s open division at Sand Creek, Rex Werner shot a 72-hole score of 322 after firing an 87 on Sunday. His previous rounds were 79, 79 and 77.
“I was very fortunate to start playing golf at the right time,” he said. “I shot well on the front (today). I guess I did good enough.”
In the Master’s A flight at Valparaiso CC, Trevor Nightingale shot a 324 to win the 72-hole round, while Louise Cholette-Haley fired a 378 to win the women’s A flight. At Sand Creek. Jeremy Belko won the Open A Flight with a 353, while John Hruska won the B Flight.