Haydyn Gibson Wins Amateur Stroke Play
The heavy rains have been haunting Florida all summer long and it has been no different at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando. Despite the wet playing conditions, Lauren Waidner, of Gainesville, fired a five-under 67 to take the lead after Friday's round. Waidner, a rising sophomore at the University of Florida, carded six birdies and a lone bogey to gain three strokes over Jenny Kim, Erika Smith, and Kelsey Zeng all tied for second with two-under 70.
After Saturday's second round the top of the leaderboard shifted with Tara Joy-Connelly and Lauren Clark standing tied for first at two-under par and Haydyn Gibson in solo third just one stroke back. After a difficult 78, first round leader, Waidner, stood in solo fourth. Both Joy-Connelly and Clark carded one more bogey than birdies to post a pair of 71's and find themselves in the final grouping on Sunday morning. With additional heavy rain overnight the course played significantly longer and the scores reflected that.
With sun shining all day the course was able to dry up and allow for better scores to be posted on the final round. On the front nine, Joy-Connelly had a rough startwith a triple on the second, but continued to fight back with birdies on three, four, and six to make the turn at two over and even for the day. Clark had a steady start with a bogey and two birdies to turn at one under while Gibson drained three birdie putts to turn at two under and even with Clark.
In the end Gibson's hot putter continued with birdies on the 10th, 13th and 17th, allowing her to take a steady lead ahead of Clark after a double on the par five 14th and bogey on the par 3 17th. Finishing strong with a birdie and par on the final holes, Gibson claims the 24th Women's Amateur Stroke Play Championship by six strokes with the only under par total.
This is Haydyn Gibson's first FSGA State Championship title as she enters into her junior year at Tulane University.
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