The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 5, 2012

Bird returns to defend women's city title

The Joplin Globe

— Twelve has been the magic number for Natalie Bird.

Bird, a graduate of Carl Junction High School and a member of the Missouri Western golf team, has entered the Greater Joplin Women’s Golf Association City Championship the last two years.

She’s won the tournament both times by identical 12-stroke margins. However, last year’s title didn’t come without some anxious moments during the final round.

Bird owned a seven-shot advantage after 36 holes, but her lead dropped to five at the midway point of the last round and then to two after she made double-bogey and bogey during the first three holes of the back nine.

But Bird finished strong by playing the last six holes in 1-under-par to regain firm control.

She finished with a 240 total after rounds of 81 at Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course, 80 at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club and 79 at Briarbrook Golf Course.

Deb McFarland finished second with 252, followed by Jo Poyzer and Leigh Ann Hackney with 261 and Rhonda Hartley with 268.

All of the top-five finishers are entered in this year’s tournament, which begins today at noon at Briarbrook. The second round will be played Sunday at Schifferdecker, and the final round is set for Saturday, May 12, at Twin Hills.

Briarbrook won last year’s team title over Twin Hills, but this year’s tournament will have individual competition only.