Shelly Haywood (Northern California Golf Association Photo)
Following her departure as the head women's coach at the University of Arizona in 2010,
Shelly Haywood literally didn't touch a golf club for eight years.
Five years later, the Laguna Beach resident is a California Amateur champion.
Haywood, 56, won the California Senior Women's Amateur Championship on Wednesday at par-72 San Luis Obispo CC, carding a final round 5-over 77 in blustery winds to finish with a three-day total of 6-over. Lara Tennant of Pebble Beach was runner-up following a final round 7-over 79.
"It feels amazing to win it," Haywood said. "The first and second rounds, my ball-striking was fantastic. And I did a great job of staying below the hole. Making putts out here is challenging."
For Haywood, it was the second round that was key. She'd post a 1-under 71, the only score all week under par. The 71 gave her a three-shot cushion entering the final round.
The three-shot lead came in handy. In the final round, she opened play by going double-bogey-bogey-bogey. As a result, Tennant became more of a factor. As did 2022 NCGA Senior Women's Player of the Year Karen Garcia.
Haywood, however, got back into a groove. She'd birdie No.5 and later tacked on back-to-back birdies on holes Nos. 9 and 10 to again open up a big lead.
'Tennant, the medalist at last week's U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, was stung by consecutive bogeys on holes Nos. 12 and 13. Garcia fell back after playing her final four holes on the front nine at 6-over.
"I was just out of sorts starting out the round," Haywood said. "But I pulled it back together. Lara doesn't make many mistakes. I knew if I just kept my head down and played my game, I'd have a good shot."
With Garcia faltering, Evelyn Orley slipped into third place at 15-over. Orley was helped along by her caddie, 1988 U.S. Women's Open winner Liselotte Neumann.
In the Super Senior Championship (players 65-over), the title went to NCGA Hall of Famer Sally Krueger. Krueger, who was making her debut as a Super Senior, finished with a three-day total of 20-over.View results for California Senior Women's Amateur
ABOUT THE California Senior Women's Amateur
The California Senior Women’s Amateur
Championship started in 1979 and has been played
at Old Del Monte Golf Course, Laguna Seca, Carmel
Valley Ranch, Bayonet and Black Horse, Poppy Hills,
and Corral de Tierra Country Club. Age Limit: 50 and
over (Super Senior’s Flight:
and over), with Gross and Net flights
Format is 36 holes of Stroke Play.
View Complete Tournament Information