Tomlinson Takes Down Sara Bay
Sara Bay Country Club played tough during the 23rd Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship. The classic Donald Ross design challenged even the best of putters with its notorious greens. A three hour weather delay during the second round and a 40 minute weather delay during the final round tested the field mentally and only a few would rise to the top to ”rain” supreme.
After round one, Roanne Tomlinson sat tied for fourth, three strokes back from Jamie Freedman, of Miami Beach, who posted a one under-par, 71, to take the early lead. Tomlinson, of Lake Mary, remained consistent during round two, once again posting a two-over par 74. She moved up the leaderboard to sit in solo second behind Kim Benedict, a resident of Bonita Springs, who posted the low round of the Championship, a three-under par 69. Benedict was the only player to break 70 and would hold the overnight lead going into the third and final round. Freedman fell from the top after struggling with a second round 78 and sat in third going into round three.
The final round was a toss-up. Tomlinson made the turn at even par to jump one stroke behind Benedict who struggled with three bogeys, one double bogey, and a birdie to turn at four-over par, 40. Freedman turned at two-over, 38. Down the stretch, Tomlinson made one bogey to card 36-37—73 and make a three day total of 221 (+5). Benedict improved her final nine holes, making two birdies and one birdie to post 40-37—77 and lose to Tomlinson by one stroke. Freedman fought back with a one-under par 35 on her final nine to tie for second with Benedict with a three day total of 222 (+6). Defending Champion Kaeli Jones finished even par for her final round to place fourth at 224 (+8). Past Champion Tara Joy-Connelly finished in fifth place with a 226 (+10) total.
Tomlinson struggled to find the words to describe her first win. She stated she was happy to finally win after being so close a few times. She went on to admit the course played fairly short so the key to her win was hitting a lot of greens and avoiding the difficult up and downs.