VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. (July 20, 2008) - The reigning Australian Amateur Champion Kristie Smith topped off her amateur career today by winning the Women's North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst, defeating Georgetown's Chelsea Curtis with a resounding 8 & 7 win on Pinehurst No. 2.
"It's been a special week," said Smith to reporters following play. "To win at Pinehurst is awesome."
Wearing her Australian National Squad colors for today's 36-hole final match and sporting her country's flag on her cheek, Smith received the coveted Putterboy trophy as teammates Stephanie Na, currently ranked 1st, and caddie Stacey Keating, ranked 3rd, cheered on in the same uniform. Curtis' only lead during the entire match came at the first hole this morning, when Smith bogeyed to Curtis' par to go 1-down.
Smith made a strong birdie putt on the fifth hole to take the match to all square, and then took charge with a par on the seventh to Curtis' bogey to go 1-up, and a birdie on the ninth to go 2-up at the turn. Smith would bogey the 10th to Curtis' par to take the match to 1-up, and then regained ground with pars on the 12th and 15th vs. Curtis' bogeys to go 3-up.Smith bogeyed the 17th to take the match to 2-up, ending the morning's play.
"I missed a four-footer on 16 and another close one on 17, and Christie hit a great par on 18," said Smith. "But up is up, you know?"
Afternoon play began with a Curtis birdie to Smith's par to cut the lead to one hole. But Curtis quickly faltered with back-to-back bogeys on the 21st and 22nd holes, as Smith saved par and then holed a four-foot eagle on the fourth hole of No. 2 to strengthen her lead to 3-up.
It gave Smith the momentum and mindset she needed, carding solid pars on the 23rd and 24th holes to Curtis' bogeys to set the match at 5-up.
In spite of an errant shot on the par-3 ninth hole that took her ball into the swale left of the green, Smith would recover with a par to Curtis' bogey putt to take the match to 6-up, with nine holes remaining.
Smith would close the match with pars on both the 28th and 29th holes to Curtis' bogeys to finish at 8 & 7.
"The pins were tough today, but they were tough all week," said Curtis, who hasn't played in a match play tournament for more than three years. "This is definitely the best tournament of my career, and a building block in confidence. I'll be back next year."
Smith, the No. 2 ranked amateur in Australia, told reporters that she will close her amateur career today's win to enter her first professional tournament in Sweeden in the weeks to come.