Creech Captures Moore County Women's Amateur
Third-grade schoolteacher Staci Creech taught the field a lesson in course management Tuesday, shooting an even-par 72 to overcome a one-stroke deficit and win the Moore County Women’s Amateur Championship.
Creech, a former golfer at the University of North Carolina who graduated in 1997, made her first appearance in the Moore Championship memorable by catching first-round leader and six-time event champion and Carolinas Golf Hall of Famer Patty Moore with a three-birdie round in the finale.
She had opened with a 70 on Monday and found herself trailing Moore on the demanding Jack Nicklaus National course, but didn’t panic.
Moore, a Charlotte resident who also has a home in Pinehurst, had opened with a 69 on Monday and appeared on her way to a record seventh title. But a balky putter ended her hopes as she shot 74.
Defending champion Amanda D’Ostroph, of Whispering Pines, made a strong bid to retain her title but finished third with 72-72—144.
“It’s my first win since junior golf,” the happy Creech said. “But I have played a lot of golf, including playing in the USGA Mid-Amateur in 2008.
“It feels great to be playing again and to win against someone like Patty. She’s amazing.”
While this was the first appearance in the event for Creech, she vows it won’t be her last. The battle with Moore and D’Ostroph had her adrenaline flowing.
“I didn’t even know this tournament existed until I saw it in The Pilot,” she said. “I definitely plan on being back next year to defend.”
Moore took her second consecutive runner-up position in stride. “It was a little more of struggle today,” she said of the 74. “The putter was working on Monday and it was an effortless round. Today was just the opposite.
“I thought I was in pretty good shape until Staci had a stretch where she went birdie-birdie-par-birdie. That got her jump-started and she played great.
“She did pique our interest a little when she double-bogeyed the 16th hole, though. We had at least a glimmer of hope, but she closed out well.”
Creech shrugged off the lapse. “I hit my approach shot in the front bunker, didn’t hit a very good sand shot and then three-putted,” she said.
“I didn’t panic. I knew it was just a mishap. I certainly don’t think it was choking.”
D’Ostroph, a rising junior at Charleston (S.C.) Southern University, was rock steady, shooting even-par 72 both days.
“I played well,” she said, “but Staci and Patty just played a little better. I felt I was playing well enough to win, but they hit it a little closer to the pin and had shorter birdie putts.
“I feel good about the way I played. My goal was to not make any major mistakes and I accomplished that. I made a double bogey on the par-5 fourth hole the first day, but then I made eagle on the next par-5 so that canceled out.”
A field of 54 women competed in the pre-flighted event with three prize winners in each of nine flights.
With Creech the overall winner, Moore was First Flight winner, followed by D’Ostroph and Katja Dammonn, who shot 78-71—149. Other prize winners were:
Second — JoAnn Sluder 167; Donna Turner 167; Helen Gibbons 167.
Third — Ginger Lash 170; Sharon Hinkle 173; Karen Wheeler 175.
Fourth — Chris Lawn 175; Sue Kress 177; Betty MacDonald 179.
Fifth — Trish Christina 178; Franny Stewart 183; Judy Dickerson 186.
Sixth — Pat Anderson 184; Rita Roberts 186; Diane Tate 187.
Seventh — Lynne Frazier 178; Sonja White 189; Tricia Knight 190.
Eighth — Patty Camp 200; Nancy Papcke 206; Pam Jones 213.
Ninth — Elaine Simon 210; Martha Butler 211; Elaine Simon 210.
Contact Howard Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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