Match goes down to the wire

Smith edges Stamper in battle of former teammates

By Linda Younkin Published:

LEXINGTON — And then there was one.

One match still going on, one hole left to be played.

Friends and former Franklin County High School teammates Abbi Stamper and Abby Smith found themselves tied after 17 holes of match play Wednesday in the Women’s Kentucky State Amateur at Lakeside Golf Course.

Smith sank a birdie putt from about eight feet away at No. 18 to win the match 1 up.

That put her in the quarterfinals this morning against Candice Wiley of Shelbyville.

A win in the quarterfinals would mean a semifinal match this afternoon.

Wednesday’s match was close throughout. Smith went 1 up early in the match, but Stamper pulled even by the time they made the turn, and the match stayed tied until Smith won the 13th hole to regain the advantage.

Stamper pulled even with a birdie putt from 10 to 12 feet out at No. 17.

“She was only one down, and I was only one up all day,” Smith said. “It was close the whole match.”

Smith’s birdie putt at the 18th hole gave her the victory in the last match completed Wednesday.

“I couldn’t make any putts all day,” she said. “That was a clutch putt to make. (No.) 18 is not an easy hole. It’s an intimidating drive and a shot across the water. It’s not an easy finishing hole.”

Stamper and Smith both play college golf. Stamper will be a junior at Murray State this fall, and Smith will be a senior at Xavier University.

“Any time you go to 18, when it comes down to the last hole, both players played pretty well,” Stamper said.

“I played really well today. It’s probably my best day. You’ve got to bring it all when you play Abby, someone you know. We’ve known each other for so long. She brings her best, and I bring my best.”

The two have squared off before in the State Am, when both were students at FCHS.
“I lost that one, too,” Stamper said, “but it was a little worse.”

Stamper’s drives were the best part of her game Wednesday.

“I hit a lot of fairways,” she said. “My short game was all right. It wasn’t terrible. I saved some pars when I shouldn’t have saved par, so that helped me not get down too much.”

For Smith, it was her short game that bothered her.

“I didn’t putt very well today,” she said. “I missed some short birdie putts, and that was frustrating. When you miss birdie putts you usually make it’s kind of frustrating, but pars worked.

“I hit the ball OK, but I definitely played better yesterday than today.”

The match was what both players expected.

“I knew it was going to be close,” Smith said. “Her game’s really improved over the years, and she’s been hitting it really well. I knew it was going to be a close one.”

“She’s a great golfer, always has been,” Stamper said. “I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game today.”

Several other women from Frankfort are playing in the State Am.

Jean Vickers, playing in the Second Flight, advanced to this morning’s championship match against Roz Tender of Lexington.

Vickers won her opening match 2 and 1 over Thelma King and defeated Betty Williamson 6 and 4 Wednesday in the semifinals. King and Williamson are both from Frankfort.

Williamson plays Norma Wigglesworth of Frankfort this morning in the semifinals of the Second Flight consolation bracket. Wigglesworth lost to Sandi Morgan of Lexington 2 and 1 in her first match Tuesday.

King is in the other consolation semifinal against Morgan, who lost to Tender 6 and 4 Wednesday.

Denise Wentz of Frankfort lost her opening match in the First Flight against Laura McQueen of Campbellsville 7 and 6 Tuesday, and on Wednesday Sandy Martin of Richmond defeated Wentz 2 and 1 in the First Flight consolation bracket.

Lesa Hodge of Frankfort lost in the Championship Flight consolation bracket Wednesday to Caroline Moore of London 7 and 5. Hodge faced defending champion April Emerson in the first round of the Championship Flight Tuesday and lost 6 and 4.

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