Cecily Overbey outlasts field to claim Carolina Women's Match Play
Cecily Overbey with Carolina Women's Match Play trophy <br>(Carolina's Golf Association Photo)</br>
Cecily Overbey with Carolina Women's Match Play trophy
(Carolina's Golf Association Photo)

ADVANCE, NC (July 8, 2016) -- Playing on the West Course at Bermuda Run Country Club defending champion Mallory Hetzel of Waynesville, N.C. knew that if she continued to play mistake-free golf and threw in some birdies, it was going to take an impressive performance to wrestle away the Carolinas Women’s Match Play Championship trophy away from her. Cecily Overbey of High Point, N.C. knew it was going to take a great showing to move past the two-time defending champion and into the Final match.

“I knew she was going to hit some really good shots and I had to just stay patient and stay in the match,” Overbey said. The match turned into a back and forth affair featuring high caliber play from both competitors. Hetzel managed to take a two-up lead into the back-nine, but Overbey buckled down and won the 11th and 14th holes to square the match.

From there, the Western Carolina University coach and the North Carolina State University rising junior halved their way to No. 18. Hetzel hit her approach just inside of 20 feet but Overbey managed to play an even better shot, hitting her approach to nine feet. Hetzel left her putt just short and Overbey capitalized on her opportunity to knock out the two-time defending champion.

She knocked in her birdie putt to win one-up and advance to the Final match. “I had 94 yards in, which is a perfect distance for me. I hit it to nine feet and then I saw the line on my putt and rolled it in,” Overbey said.

Kayla Thompson of Whiteville, N.C. and Maddisen Cox of Easley, S.C. met in the other semifinal match. Thompson took an early lead after winning the first hole, but Cox quickly responded, winning the next three holes to take a two-up lead. The UNC Wilmington rising junior cut Cox’s lead in half on No. 6, but Cox stretched the lead back to two-up on No. 7. This type of back and forth was the story of the match, but Thompson was never able to square the match. Cox won consecutive holes at Nos. 14-15 to take a three-up lead with three to play. The James Madison rising junior punched her ticket to the Final match with a birdie on No. 16 to win three-and-two. Cox once again fell behind early in the final match. This time, however, coming back proved to be far more difficult. Overbey carried her impressive play from the morning match into the final. “I think I was three under, I was playing really well,” Overbey said.

Those birdies allowed the Wolfpack golfer to take a commanding four- up lead to the back nine. Cox had the advantage of having her sister Morgan Cox, who overcame a four- hole deficit earlier in the championship, as her caddie. Perhaps that helped the elder Cox win back-to-back holes to cut Overbey’s lead in half on No. 11. Cox proceeded to miss a lengthy birdie putt on No. 12 that would have gotten her within one. Overbey won the 13th hole to get her lead back to three-up.

Cox looked to be in position to bounce back and win the 14th hole until Overbey holed an impressive sixty-foot birdie putt, which allowed her to keep the momentum and go four- up. “You definitely can’t expect to make putts like that, but in match play things like that happen,” Overbey said.

Overbey carried that momentum to No. 15 and made yet another birdie to close out Cox five-and-three. The 19th Carolinas Women’s Match Play is Cecily Overbey’s first CGA women’s championship.

ABOUT THE Carolinas Women's Match Play

The Carolinas Women's Amateur Match Play Championship began in 1997 and annually crowns the women's amateur match play champion in the Carolinas. The championship is conducted at 18 holes of stroke play qualifying to determine seeding and flights for the Championship division and seeding for match play in the Carolinas division (shorter course). The Championship flight in the Championship division competes for the championship and is determined by the top-15 scores in stroke play qualifying. The Defending Champion is the automatic number one seed. Players who do not qualify for the Championship flight in the Championship division will be placed in flights and seeded based on qualifying score. The Carolinas division will play a shorter course and will be pre- flighted based on Handicap Index. Players will be seeded within their Carolinas flight based on qualifying score.

Entry is open to any female amateur golfer who has reached her 13th birthday, is a legal resident of North Carolina or South Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index®.

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