Georgia McCravey rallies to win Tennessee Women's Senior Amateur

Georgia McCravey rallies to win Tennessee Women's Senior Amateur

September 29th, 2011 by Ron Bush in Sports - Golf

Georgia McCravey hits onto the green Wednesday during the Tennessee Senior Women's Amateur at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

It can't take away the pain of her summer, but Georgia McCravey can take great pride in an early-fall accomplishment at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club.

McCravey overcame a three-shot deficit to Signal member Debbie Durham on the front nine of the final round of the Tennessee Women's Senior Amateur tournament and then held off Durham and eight-time champion Maggie Scott for her second championship in three years.

The three played together and had the normal sequence of holes in the shotgun start.

McCravey closed with a 79 for a 23-over-par 239, one-putting the 18th from about three feet for a bogey while Scott and Durham needed two putts each to wind up at 240. Scott was away approaching the green and stuck a wedge shot well short of the hole, and Durham's chip flared left and left her seven or eight feet away.

Knoxville's Lynna Rader was fourth at 243, and Crossville's Jean Roise and Cleveland's Linda Mullins tied for fifth at 247.

"Any time you beat Maggie Scott -- and Debbie Durham on her home course -- it's something to be proud of," said McCravey, who said a lot of golfing friends helped her carry on after the death of her 21-year-old son in an accident in Spain in early July.

A splendid short game carried her to the state title. She had a three-shot lead with two holes to go but needed a nice up-and-down par on No. 17 and three good shots after a near-disastrous start on 18 to hold on. She drove into the trees and then took a penalty stroke and "hit a shot that barely made it out."

"I had about 230 yards to the green but hit a great 3-wood, finally," McCravey said. "That left me about 35 yards away."

She rolled her fifth shot almost to the hole and sank the putt.

"I think Georgia one-putted every green today," said Scott, who birdied No. 17 after nearly holing her tee shot. "She had some fantastic chips shots and putted like a demon."

Scott admitted that even with eight titles in 10 years, "you always want one more, but this was good for Georgia. I'm excited for her. This has been a hard year for her, and maybe this is a little bit of sunshine for her."

A couple of tough holes left Durham disappointed, "but I had a great time," she said. "I played with two great players; they bring out the best in you. Unfortunately that didn't happen on every hole, but it was a great tournament and this is the best this course has been in the 35 years I've been here.

"And Georgia is a very deserving champion."

Said McCravey: "I was lucky this week, and I did putt very well. I felt my son was with me all the way.

"All my friends have stuck with me," she added, mentioning such as Janet Horton and Sharon Tucker and specifically crediting Betty Probasco with "making me get back out on the golf course."

She also praised head pro Bruce Etter at her home course, Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, for help with her swing.

Horton won the first flight by eight strokes with a 259. Mount Juliet's Mary Kelly won the second flight, and Signal Mountain's Kate Gerbitz won the third.