Tomoko (Tomo) Ratzlaff outlasted Kim Shek in the final match to win the Seattle Women’s Golf Association (SWGA) City Championship, held June 17-20 at Overlake Golf and Country Club in Medina, Wash. With a large gallery following the match, the two players were tied after their scheduled 36-hole match, and Tomo won the match with a par on the 37th hole.
Ratzlaff and Shek both play out of Sahalee Country Club, with Shek being the current Sahalee Women’s Club Champion. Ratzlaff had been runner-up the past two years in the SWGA City Championship, losing both times in the final match, but closed the deal this year.
Tomo was born in Japan and initially moved to the U.S. in 1998. She started playing golf in 2002 at the urging of her husband – “He wanted me to understand why it took so long to play a round of golf so I wouldn’t be mad at him when he played,” she said with a laugh.
When Tomo told her father, who still lived in Japan, that she and her husband had started playing golf, he told her it was a waste of money since from the perspective of cost in Japan, it was “ridiculously” expensive. However, Tomo kept playing and then became her father’s favorite playing partner whenever she went back to Japan to visit. Her father passed away in 2011 from stomach cancer. His passing had a big impact on Tomo’s view of golf and life. She promised herself that she would become both a better person and a better golfer that he would be proud of. She set a 5-year goal to improve, and has since won the Sahalee Women’s Club Championship twice and was runner-up at the SWGA City Championship in 2017 and 2018.
The SWGA has launched the careers of many outstanding Pacific Northwest golfers, and its past champions include World Golf Hall of Famer (and PNGA Hall of Famer) JoAnne Carner; Anne Quast Sander, who has won numerous titles including seven USGA national championships; former LPGA Tour pro and PNGA Hall of Famer Ruth Jessen; and other PNGA Hall of Famers such as Edean Ihlanfeldt, Pat Lesser Harbottle and Ann Swanson, and many others.
The SWGA is comprised of 14 golf clubs in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. This championship was first held in 1929. Visit www.MySWGA.com for more information, or contact Mary O’Donnell at [email protected] or 206-818-1691.