Oregon Women's Stroke Play: 2 out of 3 for Little

CORVALLIS, Ore. (August 8, 2010) - The battle for the title at the 20th Oregon Stroke Play Championship required all 36-holes be played before the victor was decided at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. in both the Open and Senior Division contests.

In all, there were 10 players that had a shot at a title that was up for grabs until the end. “This was one of the strongest fields we’ve had,” noted OGA Director of Tournament Operations, Brent Whittaker. It was exciting to know we’d have a great championship coming into the weekend, and the play here validated the quality of the competition.”

Ultimately winning the title with the slimmest of margins was 2008 Women’s Stroke Play champion Kendra Little of Eugene, Ore. who finished at 4-under par 70-70—140.

“This is only the second tournament of the summer for me,” noted Little. “It’s probably the first time since I was seven that I haven’t had a busy golf summer.”

“I was really pumped coming into the tournament especially seeing the quality of the field,” she added. “I’ve been playing well and I know the course pretty well. I have a few tricks here like playing different fairways and knowing where to cut corners, so I thought I’d have a shot.” This was a great event in preparation for my final season at Oregon.”

A bogey on the par-3 17th put the title in doubt, however, as Little carried a 1-stroke margin over defending champion Lara Tennant of Portland, Ore. into the final hole. Unfortunately for Tennant, who started the day 1-stroke behind Little, costly uncharacteristic bogeys on the last two holes dropped her into a tie for fifth place, just 2-strokes from the lead.

Another bogey would have forced the University of Oregon senior into a 4-player playoff against Cheyenne Hickle of Gilbert, Ariz., a sophomore with the Ducks, as well as former Duck and 2008 Oregon Amateur champion Kate Hildahl of Tualatin, Ore. and Monica Vaugn of Reedsport, Ore.

Hickle finished the 36-hole championship carding a 3-under par 33 on her final nine to pull into contention, and if not for a bogey on the par-5 14th hole for Hildahl, she too would have had a better shot at the title.

It also could have been another historic notch in the 15-year-old Vaughn’s already impressive season, having won the Oregon Public Links, Oregon Amateur and Junior Amateur and a runner-up finish at the Girls Junior Americas Cup. Two costly bogeys on the final nine as a result of lip-out putts kept her out of another winners circle by 1-stroke.

First round leader, Lauren Sewell, an incoming freshman at Oregon State University from Renton, Wash., could not maintain her slim 1-stroke margin, falling into a 5-way tie for fifth place after posting a score of 2-under par 69-73—142, just 2-strokes behind the leader.

Along with Tennant, she was joined by fellow incoming Beaver freshman Seshia-Lei Telles and Morgan Thompson, both of Tualatin, Ore., and 13-year old Gigi Stoll of Portland, Ore.

Stoll’s impatient and costly double-bogey on the par-5 14th hole all but dashed her hopes of her first adult title.

Also finishing at even par of better on the 5,883-yard layout for the Open Division was 2009 Oregon Amateur champion and UC Davis sophomore Amy Beth Simanton of Lake Oswego, Ore, Ashlee Pickerell of Salem, Ore. and Tiffany Schoning of Bend, Ore.

In the Senior Division, Joan Edwards-Powell of Portland, ore., a member of the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame, returned to the winners circle for her fourth title.

Powell, who three-peated from 1999 to 2001, took a 4-stroke lead into the day over defending champion Loree McKay of Portland, ore., but was just 1-stroke ahead going into the final hole. A birdie on the 18th, her first of the day, along with McKay’s bogey, provided a comforable 3-stoke margin of victory.
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