Anna Morgan went into the final round of the 94th Carolinas Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur wanting to shoot a good score, have a good finish and hope it would be good enough.
The rising sophomore at Furman did all three much better than just good and won her first CGA Major Championship.
“I didn’t have any expectations,” she said. ” I just knew I was super excited to be playing in a tournament again,” Morgan said.
Like every other college golfer in the country Morgan had her season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morgan shot a 4-under par 68 to come from sixth place, five shots off the lead, and finish with a two shot victory to win the championship at the Bermuda Run Country Club in Advance, N.C.
“I was in the second to last group, but I really had no idea how I stood in the tournament during the final round. The only time I knew where I was in the standings was on the first tee,” she joked.
The Lady Paladin golfer from Spartanburg didn’t start off the 54 hole event like a contender for the Carolinas major championship.
She shot a first round 7-over par 79.
“I was nervous, not having played in a tournament for a couple of months. I hit 14 greens in the first round, but my putter wasn’t working and with the practice area closed I just had to tell myself you will be fine,” she said.
The CGA guidelines to keep conditions safe for tournament players limited range time to a quick warm up and required golfers to leave the course immediately after their round.
Alice Hodge from Mooresville, N.C. shot an opening round even par 72 to lead, leaving Morgan with 17 golfers between her and the lead.
In the second round, Morgan found her putter.
She shot an even par 72 moving up to sixth place, but still 5-shots behind another Mooresville, N.C. golfer, second round leader Kathryn Carson.
“If I could stick to what I was doing and make a couple of putts I was hitting the ball well so I knew I had a chance,” she said.
In the final round Morgan played with Wake Forest golfer Rachel Kuehn and UNC golfer Kayla Smith in the second to last group, two of the five golfers she trailed on the leader board.
She made the turn at 1-under par after carding a pair of birdies and a bogey. The other five golfers in the top six finished their first nine over par.
Morgan’s steady play continued on the back nine while her competitors continued to falter.
A birdie on 15 followed by what Morgan called her best shot of the tournament on the next hole produced two birdies and the lead.
“Number 16 was a 160 yard par-3 and I hit my 7-iron to five feet and made the putt. My birdie putt on 17 lipped out, but I made another birdie on 18,” she recalled.
Morgan got the strong finish she wanted with three birdies in her last four holes, but still didn’t know if it was good enough for the win.
“When I came off the course some of my teammates from Furman were telling me I won, but I still wasn’t sure until I got to the scorers table. They knew what the last group was doing and people started to congratulate me,” she said.
Morgan’s 219 3-over par total earned her the win over Duke’s Gina Kim and Morgan Ketchum from Winston -Salem who tied for second at 221.
Morgan now has two wins at Bermuda Run. She won the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational at the club as a junior.
“With everything that has been going on, I wasn’t sure that there would be many tournaments this summer. So just getting to play is super exciting, and then getting the win in my first tournament back in a couple of months feels really good,” Morgan said.
Morgan will next compete in the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association’s amateur championship starting on June 8th at Columbia Country Club. She will also play in the CGA Four-Ball with Furman teammate Carly Burkhardt and then in the Women’s North and South Championship at Pinehurst.
“All the fields look to be very competitive and I’m going to try to play in as many as possible this summer,” concluded the new CGA Women’s Amateur champion.
Pam Prescott from Piedmont brought the second 2020 CGA championship back to the Upstate.
Prescott shot a final round 1-under par 71 to win the Carolinas Division championship.
Besides earning the victory, Prescott was the only golfer to shoot an under-par round in the senior division. She won the championship by 8-shots over Lea Anne Brown from Mt. Pleasant.
Patty Moore from Pinehurst won the Super-Senior championship for the second straight year.
Complete tournament scores are available at https://cga.golfgenius.com/pages/2382175
Special thanks to the CGA for tournament photos.