University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golf coach Colette Murray is 3-for-3 in winning the Chattanooga Women's City Amateur championship, but the third time was different. She won from behind on the final day.
Murray made it a three-peat in the open division with a 71 Wednesday at Brainerd Golf Course, good for a 54-hole 213 and a three-stroke win over Samantha Griffith, the 2018 Lipscomb University graduate from Ooltewah who led after each of the first two rounds.
Griffith closed with a 77, as did Lindsey Hollis, last year's overall runner-up to Murray (by six shots). Hollis, a Wofford recruit from Signal Mountain, finished third this time at 217. Macall Miller and Patty Donahoo also shot 77s and finished fourth and fifth in the championship flight at 233 and 234.
Lisa Lowery-Smith was the open first-flight winner at 240, and Meg Buchanan was second at 242 in a scorecard playoff with Sue Anne Tinker. Patty Jones won the second flight at 247 with a final 79, and Kim Smith at 253 and Katie Young at 258 were second and third.
There were 28 entrants in the senior division, which played two rounds, and Debbie Durham edged Carol Massey in a one-hole sudden-death playoff for the top spot in the first flight after each finished at 151. Darlene Werhnyak, the senior champion the previous two years, was third at 154 after a closing 74 — second only to Murray.
Angie Burt edged Lynn McGee 167-169 for the seniors' second-flight title, with Mary Jenkins third at 170, and Bonnie Buckett won the third flight with a 185 when Debbie Lambert conceded a playoff. Kate Gerbitz was third at 186. A low-net award was given in each senior flight, and Rosalie Basten, Lynn Heck and Beverly Johnson got those.
Murray essentially played mistake-free golf, by her own admission — the only hiccup coming on the par-5 eighth hole when her tee shot hit a tree and bounced into a ditch. She tried to hit out of it but wound up with a bogey.
"But that was it," she said. "I could've made a few more birdie putts, but I knew I just needed to make pars."
Murray doesn't get to play as much as she would like but said she likes "to play in town" and particularly enjoys the annual city tournament. Griffith, a previous champion, and Hollis likewise were full of praise for the event and its workers.
"These ladies are awesome," said Griffith, who wasn't feeling as good about herself.
"I didn't hit my drives good today. I didn't hit my irons good. And my putting was bad all week, but it was worse today," she lamented. "But I had fun, and I got to meet some new people. I enjoyed talking about college golf with Lindsey."
Hollis was "a little disappointed" with her 77 but couldn't be down after her 69 on Tuesday.
"I broke 70 for the first time, so it's been a great week," said the 2017 TSSAA state champion and 2018 runner-up. "And to have it happen here in this great tournament with a group of such supportive women makes it an even more memorable experience."
One of those women is Murray, despite their different Southern Conference affiliations.
"She is a great coach, and she's always been real encouraging when I'm out here," Hollis said.
Contact Ron Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6291.