Emilia Migliaccio stayed steady on a difficult day at Oceanside
(Wake Forest photo)
ORMOND BEACH, FL (January 13, 2018) – Emilia Migliaccio
was bright-eyed with a big smile coming off the 18th green at Oceanside Country Club despite a biting wind off the nearby Atlantic. She beamed as she collected her South Atlantic Amateur (affectionately known as the Sally) trophy in waning daylight.
Then again, Anna Redding
was just as smiley in second place.
On a bitterly cold day at one of the premiere amateur events on the winter circuit – known as the Orange Blossom Circuit – there might as well have only been two players on the course. Migliaccio, a freshman at Wake Forest, started the day with a seven-shot lead on Redding, a Virginia junior, and Diane Baillieux
, a Baylor freshman. Redding tried mightily to surmount it, but in the end, she came up one shot short.
Related: At the Sally, Miggliaccio Takes a Commanding Lead
“I’m incredibly proud of how I played,” said Redding, who birdied two of the final three holes on her way to 4-under 68, the lowest score of the final round.
Redding will sleep well Saturday night knowing there was nothing more she could have done to leap-frog Migliaccio and claim the Sally title. On the night before the final round, a friend texted her a simple line: Crazier things have happened.
So Redding made it her mantra, and charged out of the gate. She had cut the deficit to four by the turn, and trailed by only two by the 13th tee. Redding made key birdies at Nos. 16 and 17, but Migliaccio sunk a birdie putt of her own at No. 17 to keep a slim lead.
You’d be hard-pressed to find two players of the same caliber as Migliaccio and Redding who have better attitudes about the game. Their long friendship made a cold day in Ormond Beach more enjoyable – the two grew up together playing Peggy Kirk Bell Junior Tour events in North Carolina. Now they’re among the best players in the ACC.
Redding has perhaps absorbed some of the laid-back cool that Courtney McKim
-- a 27-year-old mid-amateur who juggles her job and the competitive amateur circuit with grace -- brings to the game. The two got to know each other at this summer’s Virginias-Carolinas women’s team matches and meshed instantly despite the age gap. It was McKim who advised Redding to add the Sally to her competition schedule, and the two shared housing for the week. McKim finished T-30.
As for Migliaccio, figuring out just how to have that laid-back demeanor she displayed at the Sally was a logical next step in improving her game.
“My technique is like most people at this level,” Migliaccio reasoned, so she set out to become stronger mentally. She has been working with Vision54 coaches Tiffany Yager and Kristine Reese for the past two years to remain positive and in the moment on the course. She just finished a session with them over the winter break.
Emilia and Ulrika Migliaccio
“That’s why she won,” said Ulrika Migliaccio, Emilia’s mother. Ulrika was a member of the Swedish National Team from 1988-92 and was coached by Pia Nilsson, one of the founders of Vision54. Ulrika then went on to play collegiately at Arizona in the early 90s, and garnered All-America honors there. Emilia recognizes that her mother is an asset – both because of her knowledge of the game, and because she’s been there. Plus, she’s her biggest cheerleader.
So Migliaccio focuses on being happy while on the course, and it’s made all the difference. On Saturday, it meant holding off Redding.
“You definitely feel it, but you have to control it,” she said of the pressure of that chase.
Migliaccio returns to Wake Forest in four days, to a team she loves and environment in which she’s thriving. Team events, she says, were always her favorite thing about junior golf anyway. Now that’s every day.
Wake Forest head coach Dianne Dailey and assistant coach Ryan Potter surprised Migliaccio Saturday by showing up in her gallery on the back nine. They had been up the road in St. Augustine recruiting at the AJGA’s Annika Invitational.
“Hopefully this will be the start of lots of great things,” Dailey said as she watched Migliaccio cart off the trophy.
Here’s betting that Migliaccio will have a smile on her face either way.
ABOUT THE Women's South Atlantic Amateur (The Sally)
The Women’s South Atlantic Amateur Golf
Championship (The SALLY) is played the
second week of January each year, in Ormond
Beach, Florida. Oceanside Country Club has
been home to The SALLY since its beginnings
in 1926. The tournament field consists of top
amateurs in the US and the top finishers are
frequently represent the U.S. for the biennial
Curtis Cup team. You will find
many former SALLY players among the LPGA
72-hole stroke play championship with a
Championship Division (max handicap 6.0) and a
Rockefeller Division (max handicap 10.0) that plays
from shorter tees. There is also a Senior competition
for players aged 50 and over competing in the
Eligibility: A female from birth, that has
reached the age of 16. All entries are
accepted subject to Committee Approval.
View Complete Tournament Information