Vardas wins the WSCGA Amateur championship

Georgia Southern rising sophomore Karlee Vardas from Lexington shot a final-round 1-under par 71 to win the WSCGA Amateur at Fort Jackson in Columbia. (WSCGA photo)

Sometimes even a bogey can be a good score to write down on a scorecard.

Karlee Vardas rolled in a long bogey putt and penciled in a 5 for her final hole in the final round of the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association’s Amateur Championship.

“It was a good bogey,” said the 2022 champion from Lexington. “If it didn’t go in, it could have meant going into a playoff,” she said.

Vardas started the 54 hole championship at Fort Jackson’s Old Hickory golf course tied for the lead.

Vardas, who just finished her first year at Georgia Southern shot a 2-under par 70 to finish the first day tied with future Clemson golfer Sydney Roberts.

“I was hitting my irons really well. A lot of them were ending up around 5 feet or so. I was pleased with the way I was playing,” she said.

While Vardas and Roberts were tied for the lead Furman’s Sophia Burnett was just a shot off the lead after the first round.

Burnett was in the hunt for the Carolinas Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur title last week.

The Lady Paladin golfer from Bluffton finished third in the championship played at Yeamans Hall in Charleston.

In the second round, Roberts kept her share of the lead while Burnett moved ahead of Vardas going into the final round.

Vardas was still happy with her iron play, but the putts in the second round just did not fall for the 2019 AAAAA SC high school individual champion.

“I was playing well. In the final round I just wanted to go for the middle of the fairways and the middle of the greens. I was going to play it safe,” she said.

After the first couple of holes her game plan proved to be the perfect plan.

Roberts had trouble at the very start of her final round. Last year’s SCHSL AAA champion bogeyed her first three holes.

The Chesnee golfer bounced back with a pair of birdies on her fourth and fifth holes, but both Vardas and Burnett took advantage of her troubled start to move into the lead.

Burnett birdied her first hole, but ran into bogey problems before the turn to finish her first nine at 2-over par.

Vardas birdied her second hole and had a 2-shot lead after her first nine-holes which she was able to hold until the 17th hole.

Burnett made a birdie on the par-3 hole to cut Vardas’s lead to just one shot.

On the final hole Vardas made her “good bogey” while Burnett missed a putt that could have made a two-shot swing and force a playoff.

“I feel really good about the win. It gives my confidence a boost and gets me into some good tournaments this summer,” she said.

Vardas adds the state amateur championship to her 2019 AAAAA individual championship as a high school golfer at Lexington. (WSCGA Photo)

Vardas will return to Statesboro for her sophomore year after learning a lot in her first season with the Eagles golf team.

“It was the first time I was around girls who were not from Lexington. I learned a lot about practicing and I was also teaching one of my roommates English,” she recalled about her freshman year.

Lee Ann Brown from the Bulls Bay Golf Club won the State Division championship with Kerry Rutan from Yeamans Hall in second.

Southern Oak’s Pam Prescott was third in the division.

Scores from the WSCGA Amateur


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