Article by Joe Morelli, New Haven Register
Catherine McEvoy sat in a golf cart at Indian Hill Country Club, still in shock just a handful of minutes after winning the State Women’s Amateur championship Thursday afternoon.
Among those coming up to congratulate the senior-to-be at Greenwich High School was Pat O’Sullivan Lucey, arguably the state’s best female amateur golfer ever. The member at Race Brook Country Club in Orange won the first three Women’s Amateur championships.
In celebrating the golden anniversary of the Amateur, Lucey was on hand to greet players coming in. Presenting McEvoy with the championship trophy was Lida Kinnicut Tingley, the winner of a record eight Amateur crowns. The tournament also honored Betty Boyko, a long-time member at Indian Hill CC, the first president of this championship and was elected into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in December.
So McEvoy, 17, will forever be woven into the history of this tournament and arguably its most special year.
McEvoy, who won the last two high school state championship meets for girls golf, started the round four shots behind. She shot an even-par 73 Wednesday to finish with a three-round total 8-over 227. The come-from-behind win beat a pair of former champs in the final group who each had the outright lead on the back nine.“I’m kind of in shock. It doesn’t feel like it actually happened,” McEvoy said. ”A couple of weeks ago, I was in a slump and not playing well. This week, I got my game back together.”
“I wanted to keep my focus, have the same thought I had the rest of the week and not try to do anything too much,” McEvoy said.
Jen Holland of Branford finished one shot behind McEvoy. The 51-year-old and 2008 winner held a two-shot lead at the start of the final round. A birdie at the ninth put her up one shot on Kelly Whaley of Farmington. That lead expanded to three when Whaley double-bogeyed 10.
But that lead disappeared three holes later and a bogey on 15 put Holland behind. She just missed birdie on the par-5 18th to get into a playoff.
“Kelly’s a great competitor, I knew she would come back,” Holland said. “I’m happy with how I played. No complaints.”
Whaley, 18, birdied 12, 13 and 15 to grab the lead. She was going for her third straight Amateur title and fourth overall. She had won the previous two by a combined 30 strokes. She was leaving for her freshman year at the University of North Carolina Thursday evening.
She will be leaving without that fourth Amateur trophy. Whaley played the last three holes in 4-over-par to shoot 77 and finish third, two shots behind McEvoy.
“You have to stay focused and I didn’t,” Whaley said. “I just didn’t hit good shots. I don’t know why, I don’t know what happened, but I guess I lost my focus and it cost me.”
Meanwhile, McEvoy was the model of consistency. She hit 17 of 18 greens, offset a bogey and a double bogey with three birdies (4, 5 and 13), then finished off her round with five pars, a performance good enough to take home the title.
“The first two rounds were pretty good so I felt pretty confident going into today;” McEvoy said.
Two-time Connecticut Women’s Golf Association champion MacKenzie Hawkes of Madison finished tied for fourth at 16-over 235. Gabrielle Martin, who will be a junior at Hand High in Madison, placed eighth (242) and Brooke Stepanek of Guilford tied for ninth (243).