The final round of the Womens South Carolina Amateur at the Dataw Island Club turned into a head to head battle between a former Furman golfer and a future Lady Paladin.
Dawn Woodard needed a few extra holes to win her record setting eighth Women’s South Carolina Golf Association amateur championship.
The Thornblade Club golfer topped rising Hilton Head Prep senior and future Lady Paladin golfer Sophia Burnett on the fifth playoff hole.
“Winning never gets old,” she said. “I remember something about each of the wins and I also remember the ones that I didn’t win,” said Woodard.
The championship broke a tie with the late Hall of Fame golfer Carolyn Cudone, who won seven straight WSCGA championships between 1970 and 1976.
Woodard started the final round one shot behind College of Charleston golfer Jodee Tindal from Rock Hill. She was a shot in front of Hilton Head Prep’s rising senior Sophia Burnett.
Tindal struggled at the start of the third round carding three bogeys in her first five holes fo give up the lead.
Burnett birdied two of her first four holes to take the lead early in the final round. She held the lead until the final three holes.
Woodard played steady and stayed within a shot of the high school golfer until she birdied number 16 to tie Burnett.
Both golfers finished with two pars to set up the playoff.
Woodard and Burnett played number 18 twice, then 17 and then 18 once again. Neither golfer had an advantage and it appeared the two could keep making pars until dark.
Tournament officials moved the tee up on the 18th hole to create more of a risk-reward situation for the last two times the golfers played the hole.
“We probably could have kept making pars, but when they moved the tee up it let me go for the green in two instead of laying up,” she said.
The third playoff hole was the first time the two played the shortened 18th. Woodard used the knowledge she picked up playing the hole when the two golfers played it for the fourth time.
“I hit my drive about ten yards further than I did before. I was able to take a hybrid and put the ball on the green,” she said.
Burnett had to lay up and hit her third shot into the green.
Woodard had an easy two-putt birdie for a hard fought victory.
“I’m 45 now and winning is not as easy as it was when I won my first state title in 2008. I am getting a little older and the really good players are getting younger. It is good for women’s golf, but it makes it much harder to win because there are more good players competing,” she said.
The WSCGA used to hold their amateur championship in the fall. The schedule prevented high school girls and college women from playing in the tournament.
“I know that by working to move the tournament to this time of the year it gives every one a chance to compete. It makes for a better tournament, even if it is going to make it harder to win,” she said.
Tindal shot a final round 74 to end up in third place. Kayleigh Reinke from Rock Hill finished fourth while Clemson golfer Gracyn Burgess from Lexington finished in fifth place.
The State division title was won by Pam Prescott from Pickens. The Powdersville girls golf coach shot a 245 total and won an 18 shot victory in the division.