CARROLTON, Ga. (April 17, 2009)--Laura Coble of Augusta played 21 holes before defeating two-time defending champ Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale for her seventh-career victory at the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship, which took place April 15-17 at Sunset Hills Country Club. Coble, whose last victory in the Women’s Match Play came in 2005, birdied the par-5 18th hole to force the sudden-death playoff.
Stackhouse, 15, hit 20 greens in regulation during the match but failed to connect on her approach to the 21st hole’s green and could not get up-and-down for par. After Coble lagged her birdie putt to within a foot, the hole and the match were conceded.
“I was so nervous all day today,” Coble said after the match’s conclusion. “[Stackhouse] is such a quality young lady and a great player. She’s going to win a lot of events in her career.”
Coble’s day began on a bright note, as she birdied her opening hole and took an early 1-up lead. Stackhouse answered on the par-3 second hole though, sinking a ten-foot birdie putt. After both players exchanged pars at holes three and four, Stackhouse won Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to turn the match in her favor. However, Coble bounced back making a nine-foot birdie on the eighth hole. After each carded par on number nine, Stackhouse led the match, 2-up, at the turn.
“It was hard being down at that point,” Coble explained about her position at the turn. “I knew that Mariah wasn’t going to make any mistakes so I just had to hang in there and try to scratch away at her lead every chance that I was given.”
Stackhouse opened the inward nine with a birdie to extend her lead on Coble but she fell victim to three-putts on holes 12, 13 and 16 to see her lead vanish. Stackhouse was able to settle down in her short game though and posted birdie on the 365-yard 17th. Heading to 18, both players drove their tee shots into the fairway. Coble was first to play her approach and her shot came to rest just off the back edge of the green. Stackhouse pulled her approach left and landed just short of the green-side hazard. Stackhouse chipped to the green and left herself a lengthy downhill putt for birdie. Coble connected on her birdie opportunity and Stackhouse slid her putt just right of the hole and the players headed to the first tee for the sudden-death playoff.
This victory marks Coble’s first victory in approximately a year and half when she won the 2007 Georgia Women’s Amateur Championship. Her road to the finals began by first defeating Mary Helen McElreath of Augusta, the eventual winner of the Championship flight’s consolation bracket, 3 and 2. She then ousted Alma’s Ashley Medders in the quarterfinals, 4 and 3, and then topped 14-year old Taylor Ramsey of Augusta, 3 and 1, in the semifinals. Stackhouse opened the championship with a win over Corrie Christensen of Norcross, 5 and 4, then defeated Alpharetta’s Amira Alexander, 2 up, in the quarterfinals. She bested fellow teenager Ashlan Ramsey of Augusta, 5 and 4, in the semifinals.
Other flight winners: Jodie Shepard of Newnan defeated Alpharetta’s Kristie McCollister, 3 and 1, in the first flight; Eleanor Kirkland of Stockbridge won over Newnan’s Cheryl Drewyer, 1 up in the second flight; Gwen Young of Cochran topped Susan Clots of Villa Rica, 4 and 3, in the third flight; Calhoun’s Margaret Padgett won, 5 and 4, over top-seeded June Marbutt of Douglasville in the fourth flight; and Sandra Hefner of Dalton posted a 4 and 3 victory over Claire Pelfrey, also of Dalton, in the fifth flight.
This was the 12th playing of the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship, which has been held at Sunset Hills Country Club each year. Entries were open to female amateur golfers who are Georgia residents and members of a GSGA member club. The field consisted of the low 56 entrants, who were divided into six flights and seeded by handicap index.
Founded in 1916, the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) received its official charter on June 24, 1924. Since that date, the GSGA has grown to one of the largest state amateur golf associations in the country, with over 355 member clubs and 85,000 individual members. With a mission to promote and preserve amateur golf in the state of Georgia, GSGA offers a computerized handicapping service, course rating and measuring, and annually conducts a full schedule of statewide competitions for men and women of all age groups. Other services include a summer-long junior sectional program, award-winning Golf Georgia magazine, membership recognition and rewards programs and a charitable foundation administering two college scholarship programs.
Laura Coble, Augusta def. Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale, 21 holes
Championship Flight Consolation
Mary Helen McElreath, Augusta def. Corrie Christensen, Norcross, 1 up
Jodie Shepard, Newnan def. Kristie McCollister, Alpharetta, 3 and 1
First Flight Consolation
Ellen Connors, Newnan def. Barbara Brown, Carrollton, 1 up
Eleanor Kirkland, Stockbridge def. Cheryl Drewyer, Carrollton, 1 up
Second Flight Consolation
Rochelle Weaver, Reseca def. Kathie Lesesne, Atlanta, 1 up
Gwen Young, Cochran def. Susan Clots, Villa Rica, 4 and 3
Third Flight Consolation
Carole Cavanaugh, Sharpsburg def. Sharon Thompson, Carrollton, 2 and 1
Margaret Padgett, Calhoun def. June Marbutt, Douglasville, 5 and 4
Fourth Flight Consolation
Melissa Dickens, Alpharetta def. Fran Coody, Perry, 3 and 2
Sandra Hefner, Dalton def. Claire Pelfrey, Dalton, 4 and 3
Fifth Flight Consolation
Bunny Guy, Newnan def. Billie Gibson, Warner Robbins, 4 and 2