18th-hole victories send Crosland, Pifer to final Both rally from 2 down in state women's amateur

July 24, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Defending champion Mallory Crosland and first-time finalist Connie Pifer reached the championship match of the 77th Maryland Women's Amateur with 18th-hole semifinal victories at Woodholme Country Club yesterday.

In each instance, the winner had to overcome a 2-down situation on the back nine.

Leland Beckel, last year's losing finalist, moved ahead of Crosland with a birdie at the 12th and a par at the 14th, but the defender, who was to hit 16 greens in regulation, squared the match with pars at the 15th and 17th holes.

At 18, Beckel, who had to pitch out from under a tree, saw her fourth shot bounce just over the green. Her curling, downhill pitch shot to save par narrowly missed.

Crosland, on in 3 and below the hole, lagged her first putt to within a foot, and Beckel conceded. For the round, Crosland, 20, and a Vanderbilt University senior, was 1-over par on the front and even on the back.

Pifer's triumph was much more dramatic. On the final hole, she hit a 90-yard wedge shot to three feet right of the hole, and made the putt for birdie and the win. Deborah Danser's approach was 30 feet below the pin, and her birdie attempt stopped short of the cup.

Earlier, Pifer, whose previous best showing in this event was a semifinal loss to eventual champion Andrea Kraus four years ago at Old South CC, fell behind late on the front nine with a pair of three-putt greens, but recouped with winning pars at the 13th and 14th.

Danser, a newcomer to the area and in the event for the first time, made a par-saving, 20-foot pitch shot from the rough to the right of the 17th green to remain even.

She had put her tee shot in a bunker, been short of the green on her second shot, then watched as her ball spun around the cup before falling. Pifer then missed her birdie attempt from 12 feet.

In the morning quarterfinals, Crosland won the 17th with a par and defeated Gemma Hobbs, 1 up; Beckel built a 4-up lead on Bonnie Fry, lost it as the latter rallied with some superb putting, then won on the first extra hole; Pifer defeated Sally McKenzie, 6 and 5, and Danser put out Leigh Farrell, 2-1.

Golf course opening

Course: Hayfields Country Club

Opening: Today

Location: I-83 North to Shawan Road-West. exit and 100 yards turn right on Western Run Road. Golf course will be on your left. At the top of the hill, turn left into entrance (Hayfields Road).

Yardage/Par: 5305 to 7051/par 72

Head professional: Steve Jones

Superintendent: Charlie Ulevich

Club manager: Lori Iuele

Architect: Ault, Clark & Associates

Designation: Private

Information: 410-527-0001

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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