Griffin Overcomes Eight-Shot Deficit to Win
LECANTO, Fla. – A down to the wire finish crowned Kendall Griffin Champion of the 25th Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship hosted at Black Diamond Ranch.
Round one was a battle against mother nature and The Quarry Course, as a final suspension of the day resulted in several groups finishing their first round early the following morning.
Mindy Herrick, of Gainesville, led after round one with the only under-par score of 71. Following close behind were tough competitors, Taylor Roberts, of Parkland, and Jacqueline Putrino, of Sarasota, at even-par.
Despite a two hour and 15 minute suspension that was shortly follow by a second 30 minute suspension, the players were able to complete the second round and light up the leaderboard with red numbers.
Taylor Roberts started a birdie train on the back nine, carding birdies on holes 11 through 14 followed by a birdie finish on the 18th to post a tournament low of 5-under 67. This gave Roberts a seven-stroke lead over the current Women's Amateur Champion, Emmy Martin. Alisa Clark, of Bradenton, carded an impressive 69 in round two to tie Putrino and Kendall Griffin, of Sebring, in third place at 3-over 147.
Sunday's final round finally saw a day with no weather suspensions and was a back and forth battle between Roberts and Griffin to crown the champion. Griffin started chipping away at her eight-stroke deficit with birdies on holes five, six, and nine. Roberts struggled through the finishing holes of her first nine, falling to turn at 42 and even with Griffin. Two bogies and two birdies from Roberts kept her tied with Griffin going into the final two holes.
Both Griffin and Roberts bogeyed the par-three 17th to take the championship down to the final hole. Three precise shots landed Griffin with eight feet for birdie on the 18th hole. After making only 10 putts on her first nine holes, Griffin confidently rolled in her birdie putt to take the outright lead.
“I honestly didn’t know I really had a shot until I made my birdie putt on 18 and the cheer was a little louder than usual," Griffin said.
Roberts secured a second place finish with a par on the final hole and 2-over 218 for the championship. Griffin, an incoming junior at Louisiana State University and 2013 Girls’ Junior Champion, was crowned victorious at a final 1-over 217.
Alexa Rivas carded a tournament low final round of 66 (-6) to finish in third place at 219 (+3).
Griffin explained her emotion after hoisting the trophy, “It feels amazing to win this event!"
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The Women's Championship schedule continues August 9-11 at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, in Vero Beach, for the Florida Women's Open and Senior Open.