published Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Late surge boosts Murphy in Chattanooga Women’s Amateur championship

  • photo
    Mary Alice Murphy ties off during the City Women's Amatuer at Creeks Bend Golf Course.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Mary Alice Murphy stood on the 18th green at Creeks Bend Golf Club. She’d already made par but watched to see how Jordan Britt would fare on a 15-foot birdie attempt.

If it dropped, they would head to a playoff.

If not, Murphy would claim the 2011 Chattanooga Women’s Amateur championship.

Britt tapped her putt, her caddie urged it to hurry, but the ball came to rest a foot short of the hole. She shrugged and tapped-in Wednesday afternoon.

Murphy high-fived and hugged her mother who caddied, then embraced Britt and fellow competitor Emily Javadi, a Baylor senior, who finished third.

“I try to treat every round as just one day on the golf course,” said Murphy, who will be a sophomore playing for Mercer in the fall. “If you put too much pressure on yourself, then you freak out.

“For three days I played very consistent and hit my targets, which is my focus for this summer.”

Murphy shot a 3-under 207 — including a 1-under 69 on Wednesday — to win by one over Britt, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore, and top Javadi by four.

Soddy-Daisy senior Jessica Cathey placed fourth at 223, and her former teammate Lexi Stewart finished fifth at 226.

Dee Dee Raulston won the senior division in a playoff over Pat Wilson. They both shot two-day totals of 163.

Murphy began the round down two strokes to Britt. They were teammates for three years at Girls Preparatory School before Britt transferred to Signal Mountain for her last season.

On Wednesday, riding in the same cart like old friends, they both made the turn at even.

Britt added to her lead by chipping in for a birdie on No. 14. She gave the shot back with a bogey on No. 15 after her approach came up short.

Then came a three-shot swing on the par-5 16th, the 52nd hole of the tournament. Britt pushed her tee shot right and out of bounds for a two-stroke penalty and a double-bogey.

Murphy seized the moment and rolled in a 16-foot downhill birdie putt. In a matter of minutes she went from two strokes down to one stroke ahead.

They both parred No. 17 setting up drama on the last hole as the gallery swelled. Britt made a perfect read on the putt with a little help from UTC coach Colette Murray, who caddied for her.

“I had it right in the heart,” Britt said. “But I left it short. In all, I played 53 holes of good golf in this tournament. I had one bad hole and it hurt me.”

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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