Heather Nail captures State Am
Photo courtesy AGA
Heather Nail defeated Kathy Hartwiger in the 18-hole
final of the 83rd Women’s State Amateur
Championship at Gadsden Country Club on Friday by a
score of 1 up.
In a closely contested match,
Nail led most of the way, but a resilient Hartwiger
took her all the way to the final green before coming
up just short.
Nail, 19, hails from
Hartselle and just finished her sophomore year on the
golf team at the University of Mobile. She won four
times this past year and was named Second Team,
All-American in NAIA. Nail adds her second state title,
as she won the Women's State Four Ball
Championship (with Suzanne Stanley) in 2012.
In match played in searing temperatures on
a beautifully conditioned course, Hartwiger, who has
won this title a record-breaking 10 times, was trying
to add to her legend.
She started with an
birdie to go 1 up, but it would prove to be her only
lead of the day as Nail responded with a 20 foot putt
for a birdie two on the next hole to square the match.
The next three holes were halved with pars, before a
Hartwiger three-putt from the fringe allowed Nail to go
1 up through six holes. She would never relinquish her
Both players struggled to bogey fives
on No. 9
with Nail still 1 up. Hartwiger struggled on the next
hole as well, conceding it to Nail, who doubled her
lead. It would stay that way until an up-and-down for
par on No. 15 allowed Hartwiger to cut into Nail's
lead, but an errant Hartwiger second on 16 gave the 2
up advantage right back to Nail. However, the true
champion that she is, Hartwiger captured the 17th
with a rock solid par. But an errant tee shot far left on
the closing hole, followed by Nail's drive sailing right
down the middle, left Hartwiger, literally, with a very
tough hill to climb. So it was that Nail was able to
three-putt, but still tied the hole and thus won the
championship match 1 up.
"I thought it
was so key to keep the momentum going when I got
ahead," Nail said. "I was able to make some good
putts and that's what mattered. I really wanted to win
this championship, but knew I would face a tough
match as Kathy is a great, great champion.
"I just felt all week that this course fit my eye. I
felt like I was able to figure out the greens well. I'm
truly blessed to win this championship, especially
against someone who is the Jack Nicklaus of Alabama
golf. She's the best ever."
admitted that the heat and playing four matches in
three days took its toll on her, but would take nothing
away from Nail's win.
"Heather played a
great match and was very consistent. She gave me
very few openings and when she did, I wasn't sharp
enough to take advantage. "I don't play and practice
anywhere near as much as I used to and that's OK. I
have my experience (to fall back on) and whatever
happens, happens. I still have an awesome family that
loves me very much." She did leave with a parting
"I'm not done yet. I still
think I have one or two (championships) left in me. I
just the need some cooler temperatures."
View results for Alabama State Women's Amateur Golf Championship