The Anderson University golf team held an invitational last week, not on their home course at Cobbs Glen, but instead at the Rumbling Bald Resort’s Apple Valley course.
It was supposed to be the CGA Women’s Four-Ball championship, but it ended as an intra-squad scrimmage for four members of the Anderson University golf team.
Four Trojan golfers, who helped Anderson University to its first appearance in the NCAA DII National Championship, played like a national championship was on the line.
Jessica Rathbone, a first-team NCAA Division II All-American and her Anderson University teammate Emma Charles, who was half of the winning team in the 2019 championship, came from ninth place to force a playoff and go on to win the CGA Championship.
The two Anderson teammates caught up with another pair of Trojan golfers, Kennedy McGaha and Kerington Lamb, who held the first round lead after shooting a 6-under par 66.
“After packing up in the hotel we told ourselves, let’s just shoot a red number today and we can make it into the top-5,” said Charles. “And if we can do that we would be fine,” she said.
Rathbone and Charles didn’t just get into the red numbers, they got deep into the red numbers.
After a good front nine, Rathbone and Charles saw that they had closed the gap on the leaders.
“We were 2-under on the day and only five strokes back and we realized we could actually try and make a run for this. Then the putts just started to drop on the back-nine and we got into a good groove,” said Charles.
With the substantial difference in first-round scores, Rathbone and Charles were more than an hour ahead of the leaders on the course.
McGaha and Lamb finished their first nine holes at even par, but ahead of them Rathbone and Charles were closing in.
Charles did most of the damage with a hot putter carding birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
Rathbone finished out the run with a birdie on 18 to post a final-round 9-under par 63 and stand at 8-under par for the tournament.
And then the two had to wait for McGaha and Lamb to finish.
On the back-nine, McGaha and Lamb carded birdies on Nos. 10, 13 and 14. With a bogey on No. 15, they came into No. 18 at 8-under-par, tied for the lead with Charles and Rathbone.
“We were just calling some of our teammates telling them about our 63 and then we checked live scoring while we watched them par No. 18 and we realized we were going into a playoff with our friends,” said Rathbone.
The four Anderson golfers had played their practice round together so when the playoff started it seemed like fun for the four teammates, but it got serious quickly.
“We are so competitive at school so it was like a switch flipped from laughing on the tee box to getting back into competitive mode as soon as we teed off,” said Rathbone.
The four played the first two playoff holes even and went back to the ninth hole for the second time.
Rathbone’s second shot ended up 8-feet from the hole. When she rolled in her birdie putt she earned a share of her first CGA Championship while Charles added another to her resume.
“There were so many great players out here and I just feel really thankful to win in this field and in one of my first four-ball events. This win is just really special and I am happy to do it with her (Charles),” she said.
Scores from the 45th CGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3457408