A sense of déjà vu was unavoidable for the winner of last week’s Women’s Golf Association of Metropolitan Indianapolis city tournament.
Paired against a veteran of such events for the second time in four years, 21-year-old Greenwood resident Abbey Gleixner also had some experience on her side.
Gleixner, a member of the Butler University women’s golf program, defeated 2006 city champion Nina Whalen, 5 and 3, in the final round of match play Thursday at the Country Club of Indianapolis.
Gleixner had previously lost to Whalen in the semifinals at Ulen Country Club in Lebanon in 2014 just after finishing high school.
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The Roncalli graduate treasures memories of Whalen, who is four decades her senior, taking her to the Ulen practice green to give her putting tips following the match three summers ago.
“The older women just enjoy golf more. That’s nice, because a lot of the college players are too intense,” Gleixner said. “I just remember Nina being a really good putter. I knew I was going to have to make putts if I was going to beat her.”
On June 19, Gleixner shot a qualifying score of 70, earning the top seed in the 16-person championship flight. She dominated her matches en route to the final, defeating foes in lopsided fashion — 8 and 5 in the first round, 4 and 3 in the quarterfinal, then 6 and 5 in her semifinal.
That paired her against Whalen, 61, who has competed in every city tournament since 1999. In 2012 and 2013, Gleixner’s sister, Anna, won the event by defeating — you guessed it — Whalen in the championship match.
Having lived just off hole No. 7 at Dye’s Walk Country Club in Greenwood since she was 8, Gleixner and her three older siblings, all of whom also played college golf, benefited from the opportunity to perfect their skills.
“Being able to practice late in the day when no one else is there, I still do that,” Gleixner said. “The short game is probably the most important aspect of my game. I don’t hit the ball particularly far, so I need to get up and down to play well.”
Gleixner played in the No. 2 spot in coach Bill Mattingly’s lineup at Butler as a junior. Her 18-hole stroke average of 77.46 was second among Bulldogs’ players.
“Abbey had an excellent year for us. She started the year with a second-place finish at the tournament at Illinois State and continued to improve all season,” Mattingly said. “We are really counting on big things in her senior year.
“I think her game is just going to get better. I was definitely not surprised she won the (city) tournament last week.”
Gleixner’s busy summer continues Wednesday and Thursday as she participates in the Women’s State Amateur Championship at Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru. She tied for 14th at the 2016 event at Country Club of Terre Haute with a three-day total of 234.
“Obviously, I want to win, but am looking to play well and finish in the top 10,” Gleixner said. “I’ve already played in three tournaments this summer and am playing in four more before school starts.”
Family: Parents Mark and Tracy; brothers Robert, 28, and Louie, 25; sister Anna, 23
High school: Roncalli (2014)
College: Butler University (2018)
Major: Environmental Studies