Acker takes big lead, coasts to second title
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 6, 2016
WIESBADEN, Germany — Jasmin Acker of Kaiserslautern proved too consistently good for the rest of the field in the 2016 DODEA girls’ golf European championships, capitalizing on a strong front nine to comfortably distance herself from the competition.
Acker, a junior who’s played competitively for six years, is a repeat champion. She won last year’s competition a little more narrowly than this time.
“I’ve had a little bit more of a comfortable lead this time,” Acker said. “It was less stressful – I went into the back nine with a lot less pressure – though it didn’t really seem to help me much, since I played worse on the back.”
Acker’s playing partners – junior Leigha Daryanani of Bitburg and freshman Phoebe Shin of Ramstein, began the day only two and four points behind, respectively. DODEA uses the Stableford scoring system, in which birdies are worth four points, par three, bogeys two and double bogeys one. Acker prevailed with a two-day score of 68 to Shin’s 59 and Daryanani’s 57.
By the end of the front nine, Acker had put some daylight between herself and Daryanani and Shin, outscoring them by six and four, respectively, in that span.
Acker said her improved short game made the difference on a chilly, cloudy day at Rheinblick golf course.
“I definitely putted a lot better (today),” she said. “It’s a way bigger part of golf than people might think, and that definitely put me ahead on a lot of holes.”
It was Daryanani’s final appearance in the DODEA tournament, with her family set to move stateside in the spring. That leaves Shin as the most logical challenger to Acker in next year’s event, even though the freshman finished a relatively distant second.
“It was a really good experience this week,” Shin said. “Jasmin did really well this whole tournament and so did Leigha, so it was a real good experience for my first Euros.”
Shin said her priorities in the offseason will be on her technique overall.
“Definitely (I’ll work on) my short game and general ball-striking,” she said.
Acker’s family was there as she sank her final putt on the 18th green to celebrate alongside her.
“It was really nice, I liked having them (here) at the end of the round and that they were here to support me,” she said. “It put a smile on my face.”
Kaiserslautern's Jasmin Acker tees off during the DODEA-Europe golf championship at Rheinblick golf course in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Acker won the championship two years in a row.
MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES