North Carolina Women's Am: Kayla Smith wins by three shots
Kayla Smith (Carolinas Golf Association Photo)
Kayla Smith (Carolinas Golf Association Photo)

Kayla Smith of Burlington, N.C., won the 75th North Carolina Women’s Amateur Championship, an official USGA Exemption Event, which carries an exemption into the 124th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. 

“It’s obviously great to walk away with the win, especially getting an exemption to the U.S Amateur is a cherry on top,” Smith said. 

She carded rounds of 72-68-68, finishing at 8-under par to win at Mooresville Golf Club by three strokes. Macy Pate of Winston-Salem, N.C. was the 36-hole leader at 5-under par, one stroke better than Smith. 

Heading into the final round, she liked the position she was in; it allowed her to be aggressive.

“It kind of freed me up in the sense that I could really start attacking pins and trying to drop as many birdies as I could,” Smith said. 

Playing alongside Pate, Katherine Schuster of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., and Nicole Nash of Charlotte, N.C, in the final group which teed off at 9:50 a.m, she was 1-under through five holes. 

Smith was in position with close putts on seven and eight, but the birdies didn’t fall. Pate had early struggles which turned the lead into Smith’s hands as the group completed the front nine. 

Although frustrated after not converting, she stayed patient. 

“It was making sure I took a step back and kind of just reoriented myself,” Smith said. 

Those putts started falling on the back nine with birdies on 13, 15, and 16, which increased her lead to three, putting the title within reach.

Through the three rounds, Smith’s play improved. In Round 1, she was 2-under par before double-bogeying the par 5, 18th. After a rough approach which caused the error, she realized she needed to play smarter to start giving herself closer looks on the greens. 

The adjustment translated to a 4-under Round 2 score, providing momentum for her final round.

Off the tee, the course can play quite narrow forcing precision to stay in bounds and away from any penalty areas. Hitting the right numbers became pivotal for Smith to win the championship, her first CGA title.

Pate finished in second at 5-under and Schuster in third at 2-under. Tied for fourth at 1-under were Nash, Emily Mathews of Mebane, N.C., and Ella June Hannant of Pikeville, N.C. 

Countless universities were represented in the field, and Smith just graduated from The University of North Carolina. 

She will play the rest of the summer as an amateur before starting Q-School, the LPGA Tour Qualifying Series. 

“I’m sort of going out into the world of adulthood and golf being my job,” Smith said. “I’m very excited that I’m going to be sort of a rookie, sort of relearning aspects of professional golf.”

Before that transition, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, the final event Smith will play as an amateur, is August 5-11 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, O.K.

She’s played in the championship before and is eager to return.

“It’s really awesome to play in USGA events,” Smith said. “To have that be my last tournament as an amateur, it’s arguably the strongest field in women’s amateur golf, is really awesome.”

View results for North Carolina Women's Amateur
ABOUT THE North Carolina Women's Amateur

54-hole stroke play championship for North Carolina women amateurs. The Champion, Senior Champion and Junior Champion will be determined from contestants playing the Championship Tees. The Super Senior Champion will be determined from contestants playing the State Tees.

In order to be eligible to play in the North Carolina Women's Amateur Championship, a player must be legally domiciled in North Carolina for six months, have an established USGA handicap, and meet one of the following three requirements:

1. She must be a member of an CGA member club or women's golf association at a member club located in the State of North Carolina; or 2. She must join as an individual member and pay her personal membership fee; or 3. She must be a member of a golf league, golf team, or golf training facility in the State of North Carolina which is a member of the CGA.

View Complete Tournament Information

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube