Alabama Women's Stroke Play: Lawrence by one

SELMA, Ala. (July 24, 2011) -- Haley Lawrence took home the 21st Women’s State Stroke Play Championship, after rounds of 74-73-74–221, by one shot from three-time champion Kathy Hartwiger, who improved every day with rounds of 75-74-73–222 at Grayson Valley Country Club in Trussville.

Lawrence, who is 21 and from Prattville, will be a senior on Troy University’s golf team. She led from the first day and was delighted to win her first state title.

“I thought my putt on (No. 18) was to tie (Hartwiger). It was only after we started adding the scorecards up that I realized ‘Wow!’ I had won.”

The par putt was just a three footer, but it broke from right to left and came after Hartwiger missed a six foot birdie putt.

Lawrence began the day with a one shot lead over Cammie Gray of Northport, but Gray faded to a final round 79. Thus the stage was set for a battle between Lawrence and nine-time State Amateur champion Hartwiger, who trailed by two when the round began.

However, Hartwiger, who played the front nine in one-under-par, took the lead after Lawrence had a shaky patch with a double bogey from the trees on No. 6, followed by bogeys on 7 and 8. A Lawrence birdie on No. 9 steadied her, but she still trailed Hartwiger by two heading to the back nine. However, birdies from Lawrence on 10 and 12 saw her take the lead as Hartwiger dropped a stroke on 11.

The final birdie from the top two came from Hartwiger on 13, but bogeys on 16 and 17 dropped her back. Lawrence also had a bogey on 17 and then was able to hang on to win by one as both players parred the closing hole.

“Now that I’ve won this championship, I realize it’s a big deal,” Lawrence said. “I’m a little in shock to have won. I loved going head-to-head with Miss Kathy. She is such a great player.”

Lawrence had good thoughts about being able to beat Hartwiger, however, as she did just that in the second round of match play of the State Amateur in 2009. She went on to lose to Jordan Hardy in the final.

Lawrence won Troy’s home college tournament, the Troy Invitational at Troy Country Club, earlier this year, and had a high finish in this year’s SunBelt Conference Championship. An athletic training major, she heads back to Troy in early August, so this win marked the end of her summer golf tournaments.

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