Georgia Women's Match Play: Shirley victorious

CARROLLTON, Ga.(June 17, 2011) -– Margaret Shirley of Athens won the 14th annual Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship at Sunset Hills Country Club on Friday, with a 4 and 3 final score over eight-time event winner Laura Coble of Augusta.

Shirley, the assistant women’s golf coach at the University of Georgia, birdied the first hole of the day to get off to a strong start. Shirley’s early lead didn’t last long, as Coble took holes three and four for a 1-up advantage. Coble conceded the sixth hole to Shirley, bringing the match to all-square, then Shirley won hole seven to retake the lead. From then on, Shirley never looked back. Clinching the match on the par-3 15th hole, Shirley beat Coble, 4 and 3, on a course where she has won this event eight previous times.

“I hit it as good as I’ve ever hit it, I think,” said Shirley after accepting the winner’s trophy.

Shirley’s road to the final came after winning four times throughout the week in Carrollton. In the round of 32 on Wednesday, Shirley beat Amanda Barbee of Hartwell, 6 and 5, and then went on to beat Jodie Shepard of Newnan, 8 and 6, in the round of 16. On Thursday, Shirley defeated two-time winner of the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, 2 and 1, in the quarterfinals, and in the semis, she earned the win over last year’s runner-up, Amira Alexander of Alpharetta, 2 and 1.

Coble, who has won the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship eight times in 13 years, came up just short this week, but has now reached the final match nine times, including three of the last four years. Coble’s week leading up to today’s finale included wins over Debra Partridge of Roswell (9 and 7, round of 32), Cheryl Grigg of Sea Island (2 and 1, round of 16), Kaylee Random of Alpharetta (5 and 3, quarterfinals) and Lauren Court of Lawrenceville (6 and 5, semifinals).

Other flight winners: In the First flight of the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship, Mary Riley of Perry defeated Joyce Doss of Carrollton, 4 and 2, in the final match which was contested Thursday at Sunset Hills Country Club.

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ABOUT THE Georgia Women's Match Play

Open to female amateur golfers in two separate divisions - Championship and Senior Women's Championship (for those age 50 and older as of the first day of the competition)

Maximum field size of 84 players - low 42 players chosen by handicap index for Women's Match Play Championship qualifying and 42 players for the Senior Women's Match Play Championship qualifying; if a division doesn't fill, more players may be added to the other division for stroke play qualifying and additional match play flights

36 holes of stroke play qualifying followed by match play for the low 32 players; the low 16 qualifying scores will comprise the Championship Flight; the remaining 16 players that make the cut will be seeded into a Tournament Flight based on qualifying scores.

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