Crosby will always remember this course

Nicole Crosby was having trouble recollecting one of the golf courses she walked this week.

The high school junior fired a nine-hole score of 42 in Stevenson's season-opening win at Crane's Landing in Lincolnshire on Tuesday. The second-year varsity golfer followed up with an adjusted 87 in an 18-hole tournament.

"I cannot remember where it was," she said with a sheepish laugh.

On Saturday, Crosby stood on the private grounds at Rich Harvest Farms, site of the Solheim Cup.

The 16-year-old Long Grove resident will remember it forever.

That's because, as a standard-bearer, she got to walk the fairways during one of the four morning foursome matches. She was among the select few inside the ropes trailing Americans Brittany Lincicome and Kristy McPherson and European Team players Gwladys Nocera and Maria Hjorth.

The Europeans won the final foursome match 1-up.

"It was amazing," Crosby said. "This is the first golf event I've been to, so to be inside the ropes was pretty exciting."

Equally thrilling was shaking the hands of American stars Lincicome, 23, and McPherson, 28, before they teed off.

"I got to meet Brittany and Kristy," Crosby said. "They introduced themselves, and I was like (laughing), 'That wasn't really necessary. I know who you are. ' "

As it turned out, Crosby got to witness up-close a spirited match down the stretch. Nocera and Hjorth were 3-up after the 12th hole, but McPherson and Lincicome won the next three holes to pull even.

The heroics for the Americans included Lincicome birdies on Nos. 13 and 14, the latter of which came after her estimated 315-yard drive. McPherson rolled in a birdie putt on No. 15, but she and Lincicome conceded Hjorth's birdie putt on the par-3 16th and the American duo couldn't make up the deficit.

"I was trying not to be too biased," Crosby said of her tacit rooting for Lincicome and McPherson. "But, yeah, I was really excited to see them start winning some holes. If they would have won, it would have been nice, but they made it close."

A member of the Illinois Junior Golf Association, Crosby got an e-mail from the IJGA, notifying her of the opportunity to potentially serve as a standard-bearer in the Solheim Cup.

She filled out an application, which included an essay question asking her why she should be a standard-bearer.

"I just told them how much I love golf," Crosby said, "that I'm a caddie (at Royal Melbourne), I play, and that I really wanted to be involved in this."

The experience didn't disappoint. She even studied the pros.

"I think what I paid attention to the most was the putting," Crosby said. "They really take their time. They look at every angle, so I think that's something I should probably work on - (and) walk the whole green. I look at it from like one or two (angles), but they look at from like six."

Crosby didn't get a souvenir or autograph from any of the players in her group, but she was OK with that.

"The experience," she said, "was good enough."

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