IRVINGTON, VA (June 22, 2006) –– Manakin-Sabot’s Stephanie Hicks, 21, shot a final round-best 1-over-par 74 to record an unprecedented third consecutive Virginia State Golf Association Women’s Stroke Play Championship triumph. The ’06 event concluded today at the Golden Eagle Golf Club (5,859 yards, 37-36—73).
Hicks ended the championship at 2-over-par 221, a shot clear of Lauren Doughtie, 19, of Suffolk, who carded a last day 75 (222, +3). A recent graduate of Longwood University where she enjoyed an outstanding collegiate career, in addition to her watershed win, Hicks joins Virginia amateur legend and LPGA Tour player Donna Andrews as well as Liz Rogers of Virginia Beach and Sherry Bowman of Manassas as the only three-time victors in the championship’s 29-year history.
Owning a one-shot lead in the closing stretch of holes, Hicks birdied the par-4 15th, striking a wedge shot from 95 yards to 7 feet before draining the putt to open up a two-shot lead on Doughtie, her nearest pursuer throughout the day. Despite a bogey at the par-3 17th that reduced her lead to one, Hicks decided the championship with a par at the last.
After a first day 76 put her four off the pace, Hicks got back in the championship with a second-round best 2-under 71 to own a share of the lead with Doughtie, a rising sophomore at North Carolina State University, entering final day play.
Even with the seminal achievement, Hicks says the week exceeded her expectations and counts the victory as a “great feeling” but “just another step to whatever the future holds.” After graduating from Longwood in May and then taking part in Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill Monday qualifying, she hasn’t played much competitive golf, but ultimately provided a performance for the record books this week.
“I’ve take some time off. This is the first tournament where I’ve gone in and said to myself, ‘Just go have fun,’” said Hicks, who has triumphed in the event at some tough tracks. She won in 2004 at Alexandria’s Belle Haven Country Club before coming away with victory last year at Charlottesville’s Birdwood Golf Course. “I was never nervous until the 18th green.”
In addition to Hicks (overall champion) and Doughtie (overall runner-up), other flight winners were: Barboursville’s Whitney Neuhauser (flight one), Alexandria’s Susan Podolsky (flight two), Hampton’s Kara Spence (flight three) and Heathsville’s Su Schmalz (flight four).
Fro complete flight results, click on the tournament link above.