In her 15 years playing golf Teresa Prather had never broken 80 or won a major tournament.
She did both Sunday in claiming the City Championship at Juniper Hill Golf Course.
After shooting an 84 Saturday to put herself in the final group of the day, Prather fired 78 Sunday to win the tournament by one shot over Lesa Hodge.
“For me 84 is about average,” she said. “I was very pleased with the way I played yesterday, and I was surprised to be in the final group.
“I was nervous. I knew I couldn’t outdrive the other golfers, and I had to play my game. Kirk (Schooley, Juniper Hill golf pro) is always talking about staying in the moment, and I really tried to do that today.”
To do that, Prather turned her attention to things other than golf.
“I watched the trees blow in the wind, I watched the birds go by,” Prather said. “I putted well today, and that really helped. I tried not to think about hardly anything, and that’s hard to do, to concentrate for 18 holes.”
Prather was the only woman to shoot in the 70s Sunday. Hodge and Charlotte Nelson both shot 79 Saturday and led by five shots over Prather and six over Donna McNeil going into Sunday’s round.
That was the final foursome of the tournament. Hodge took second with a score of 163 (79-84), followed by Nelson at 167 (79-88) and McNeil at 170 (85-85).
“It was an honor to play with Lesa, Charlotte and Donna,” Prather said. “They’re all outstanding golfers, and I wanted to hang with them. That was my goal today.”
Prather did that, although she didn’t know how she stood during the round.
“I knew I was playing well,” she said. “I don’t keep up with my score, so especially coming into 18 I had no idea how I stood. Charlotte knew. She was riding with me. She never said anything, and I’m glad.
“I was totally surprised,” she said about the win. “When I turned the corner everyone was looking at me, going ‘you won, you won,’ and I was like ‘what are you talking about?’ Charlotte had let everyone know when she was coming through there.”
Sunday was the first time Prather had shot a score in the 70s, and she was quick to share her success.
“I have to give Tom (Russell) all the credit,” she said. “He’s been my coach and he’s also my boyfriend, and in the last eight years he’s really turned my game around.
“All the credit goes to him. He’s patient, and he’s a very good teacher.”
Prather also won the senior championship, which goes to the low score for a golfer 55 or older.
Gross: 1. Teresa Prather, 162 (84-78); 2. Lesa Hodge, 163 (79-84).
Net: 1. Charlotte Nelson, 137; 2. Robin Moore, 141.
Gross: 1. Susan Goins, 181 (89-92); 2. Carol Ferguson, 193 (92-101).
Net: 1. Teresa Coleman, 136; 2. Susan Spoonamore, 139.