It was a successful home coming of sorts for Barb Mucha.
LPGA Tour veteran Barb Mucha, an Ohio native who played college golf at Michigan State University, recorded her first win in 14 years at the $100,000 Wendy’s Charity Challenge presented by Aveeno, held at the Country Club of Jackson on Aug. 12. Mucha held off Cindy Rarick in a two-hole playoff to win the Legends Tour’s sixth annual event in Jackson.
Both players were tied at 2-under 70 after regulation in the 18-hole tournament. Returning to the 18th hole twice for the playoff, both players scored par on the first extra hole. On the second time around, Rarick’s tee shot found the left rough, and then her approach shot clipped a tree branch, landing her ball 50 yards short of the green. Her 18-foot putt for par rolled three feet past the cup. Mucha had the steadier hand. She struck a pitching wedge to 15 feet and left her birdie attempt one foot short. The tap-in par putt awarded Mucha her first win since the LPGA’s 1998 Sara Lee Classic in Nashville, Tenn. That LPGA victory also came in a playoff.
“It feels a little surreal, but really good to win again,” said Mucha, a resident of Orlando, Fla., who won five times in her 19-year LPGA Tour career. “It’s definitely a more relaxed atmosphere on the Legends Tour, but you still have to perform to win.”
Mucha’s performance moved her into the playoff when others fell off pace. She recorded a key birdie on the 16th hole when she hit a 5-iron to 20 feet and drained the putt.
“I made some key putts,” added Mucha, who switched to the “claw grip” two years ago with a standard-length putter. Mucha has spent the last three years teaching golf in Orlando and mentoring male and female players on developmental professional tours. Her performance won her a $15,000 winner’s check. Defending champion Lorie Kane of Canada three-putted the last hole in regulation to fall out of any playoff hope. Rarick, the tournament leader, also bogeyed the 18th hole in regulation to drop into a tie with Mucha at two under. Kane and fellow LPGA Tour veteran Sherri Steinhauer finished tied for third at one-under 71, while Rosie Jones finished fourth at even-par 72.
One of eight tournaments on the Legends Tour, this year’s event featured 25 Legends players on the tour for LPGA members age 45 and over. The Wendy’s Charity Challenge has raised more than $1.65 million for Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption since 1999.