Carol Robertson, Medalist Virginia Women's Amateur
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (July 10, 2012) –– Carol Robertson of Virginia Beach shot 2-under-par 70 in the second round of stroke-play qualifying to earn medalist honors at the 87th Virginia State Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship at the 5,770-yard, par 72 Golden Horseshoe Golf Club Gold Course.
Robertson, 28, the head women’s golf coach at Old Dominion University, opened with 5-under 67 on day one and finished qualifying at 7-under 137. Robertson is the low qualifier for match play, which begins on Wednesday. She was the only competitor to post two subpar rounds leading up to the match play portion of the championship.
Showers delayed the start of the second round by an hour and a half. With some intermittent sprinkles staying around, Robertson and Hannah Pierce, 19, of King George who returned a day two-best 3-under 69, posted the only rounds in red numbers on Tuesday.
In addition to Robertson, Elizabeth Brightwell, 21, of Nellysford (143, 69-74), a rising junior at the University of Virginia, and Pierce, a rising junior at Longwood University, were the three low qualifiers for match play. Teenagers Lauren Coughlin, 19, of Chesapeake (147, 74-73), a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia, and Alex Wright, 14, of Midlothian (151, 75-76) filled the top five spots in the match play field. Wright, a former St. Catherine’s School student who now attends the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., was the runner-up at the Richmond Women’s Golf Association Championship in mid-June.
Seventeen of the 19 low qualifiers for match play are age 21 or under; Robertson and reigning VSGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion Mimi Hoffman of Springfield (151, 73-78), the 10th low qualifier for match play, lead the mid-amateurs.
For a second straight day, Robertson (pictured left) birdied three of the final four holes – Nos. 15, 17 and 18 – to claim the medal for the first time. One over par at the time, Robertson started the surge by stuffing a gap wedge to 5 feet to a demanding back left hole location for an eventual birdie at the par-5 15th. Thereafter, at the par-4 17th, her pitching wedge from a spotty lie through the green on the left side came to rest 15 short of the flagstick and she made the ensuing birdie putt. Robertson two-putted for birdie from 30 feet at the par-5 finishing hole.
Robertson won the 2006 VSGA Women’s Amateur before turning professional. She was reinstated to amateur status in September 2010. Having played at some of the top levels of competitive golf, Robertson knows that no assurances accompany being medalist.
“I’m really excited about how I’ve played over the last couple of days,” she said. “I also know that match play is a totally different story and I know that I need to keep making some birdies and stay steady. You never know what will happen in match play. I just hope that I can keep up the good work from here.”
Brightwell played consistently for much of the day, posting 16 pars against two bogeys. Pierce, meanwhile, completed her round in the same manner as Robertson – making birdies at Nos. 15, 17 and 18. At the par-5 15th, she played her 3-wood second shot to the front of the green, 90 feet short of the flagstick, but rattled home an 8-footer for birdie. Pierce then birdied the final two holes from inside 4 feet to improve her first round score by six strokes.
“I was putting a bit better on the back nine [Tuesday] and I didn’t get into any trouble,” she said. “It’s an entirely new game now. I’m confident and I think I stand a good chance of playing well.”
Two-time defending champion Amanda Steinhagen, 20, of Oak Hill will continue her pursuit of a third straight Women’s Amateur victory, but it won’t be easy. Steinhagen concluded qualifying as the 12th low qualifier for match play at 8-over 152 (75-77). She is trying to become the first player to win three consecutive titles since Salem’s Lee Shirley accomplished the feat from 1996-98.
Thirty-two players with a 36-hole aggregate of 180 or better advanced to match play.
Both the first and second rounds of match play are scheduled for Wednesday, July 11, with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Thursday, July 12. The scheduled 18-hole championship final is set for Friday, July 13.