Recent Virginia Tech graduate Whitney Stevenson
BLACKSBURG, VA (June 13, 2017) - Recent Virginia Tech graduate Whitney Stevenson, a Georgia native, is making her first start in a VSGA event this week at the 40th Virginia Women’s Stroke Play Championship at Blacksburg Country Club. And for good reason.
“I’m working at this golf club this summer,” said Stevenson, a Blacksburg CC member. “It was definitely the location. I just wanted to be here, practice here and compete here.”And perhaps the next thing on her list would be to “win here.”
Stevenson posted a 3-over 75 on stormy Tuesday that yielded very few low scores, and after shooting 144 over the tournament’s first two days, she’ll enter Wednesday’s third and final round with a three-shot lead over 2015 VSGA Women’s Stroke Play Champion Elsa Diaz (Independence GC).
“Honestly, I’m just going to play my game and keep having fun, like I’ve been doing,” Stevenson said.
In all, six players are within five strokes of Stevenson after 36 holes of play. The 2016 champion, Alexandra Austin (Springfield G&CC) returned a second straight 74 and earned a spot in the final foursome with Stevenson, Diaz and Karishma Thiagaraj (Dominion Valley CC). First-round leader Lyndsey Hunnell (Hanging Rock GC) struggled to an 80 on Tuesday and is tied with Austin and Thiagaraj at 148.
Perennial contender Amanda Hollandsworth (Great Oaks CC) isn’t out of the hunt either, as she’ll enter Wednesday’s round five shots back after carding a two-day 149.
In the 20th Senior Women’s Stroke Play Championship, held concurrently at Blacksburg, there’s a three-way tie atop the leaderboard in the first championship flight after Joanne Kitusky (The Dominion Club), Boodie McGurn (CC of Virginia) and Shelley Savage (Army Navy CC) each returned a 3-over 75.
“All in all, a pretty solid round,” said Kitusky, who was the stroke-play qualifying medalist in last week’s Richmond Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship. “I played with a great group and made some new friends. That really relaxed me.”
Three others seniors are within two shots of the lead. Lindsay Wortham (CC of Virginia) shot a 4-over 76. Two-time defending champion Mary Cabriele (CC of Fairfax) and 2016 VSGA Senior Women’s Golfer of the Year Mimi Hoffman (Belle Haven CC) both posted 5-over 77s.
Savage is a four-time champion of this event, with her last title coming in 2011. McGurn was the runner-up last year, finishing two shots behind Cabriele.
Just as the final groups were making the turn, play was suspended due to severe weather. When the players returned to the course 90 minutes later, most struggled to get back into a rhythm.
“It’s always hard to kind of get back after a rain delay,” said Diaz, who shot 40 on her back nine after a 35 on the front. The regulars started on No. 10 Tuesday. “I felt pretty good with how I was playing and I thought I had some good momentum coming in. But it’s a little harder on the body to get back into it. I think you expect to be playing as well as you were, but you’re not. At least that’s what happened to me.”
Stevenson made one birdie on Tuesday, and she did it without even being on the green. She chipped in from about 40 feet away on No. 18, just before the horn blew for the delay.“It was a good feeling after bogeying the hole before,” she said.
Austin, Katie Turk (Blacksburg CC) and Tatum Walsh (VSGA Junior Golf Circuit) tied for the low round of the day, shooting 74.
View results for VSGA Women's Stroke Play
ABOUT THE VSGA Women's Stroke Play
54-hole, stroke play competition (18 holes per day).
The field will be flighted by score after the first two
rounds of play into an appropriate number of flights
based on field size. Open to female
golfers of all ages. Participants must hold an active
GHIN number issued by a licensed VSGA member
club in good standing.
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