Steady, con­sis­tent Phillips queen of ASGA match play

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SCOREBOARD - ROBERT YATES

Nora Phillips of Hot Springs didn’t be­gin play­ing golf un­til her late 20s, but she con­tin­ues to make up for lost time.

A self-de­scribed “stay-ath­ome mom,” Phillips top­pled Tay­lor Reed of Lit­tle Rock, 5 and 4, to win the Arkansas State Golf As­so­ci­a­tion Women’s Match-Play Cham­pi­onship on Fri­day morn­ing at Maumelle Coun­try Club.

Phillips, 45, coasted to her big­gest ASGA vic­tory af­ter win­ning four con­sec­u­tive holes on the front nine, which were played in light rain.

Phillips, who never trailed, was 3 up at the turn and clinched the match with a 4-foot par putt on No. 14.

“Very, very spe­cial,” Phillips said af­ter beat­ing Reed, 20, who will be a ju­nior this fall at Hen­der­son State.

Phillips, a mem­ber of Hot

Springs Coun­try Club, said she took up golf 17 years ago dur­ing a busi­ness trip to Flor­ida with her hus­band.

“A boyfriend of one of my man­agers took me out to play,” Phillips said. “He just showed me how to swing the club, and my hus­band got me golf clubs a week af­ter that. That’s pretty much it.”

Phillips has been a reg­u­lar on the ASGA cir­cuit since mov­ing from Colorado to Arkansas four years ago and was run­ner-up in two high-pro­file stroke-play events — the ASGA Cham­pi­onship in 2014 and in June at Hot Springs Coun­try Club, when she fin­ished two shots be­hind Sarah Wright, a team­mate of Reed at Hen­der­son.

“My putting on that one just fell apart,” Phillips said. “There was so much pres­sure be­cause I was play­ing at the club I be­long to. Peo­ple ex­pected me to win be­cause I know the course, but the pres­sure was a lit­tle bit over­whelm­ing.”

In a match-play re­match, Phillips elim­i­nated de­fend­ing cham­pion Wright in the quar­ter­fi­nals (5 and 4) be­fore beat­ing top-seeded Julie Ox­en­dine 1 up in Thurs­day’s semi­fi­nals.

“I p l ayed we l l the last three days,” said the fourth-seeded Phillips, who is orig­i­nally from the Philip­pines. “This is a tough course to play. The ground is re­ally, re­ally hard. There’s a lot of ad­just­ment com­pared to our course.”

Phillips went 1 up with a birdie on No. 3, then won the next three holes to ex­tend her ad­van­tage to 4 up.

Phillips again moved to 4 up af­ter birdieing No. 11, a 354-yard par 4. From 161 yards, Phillips hit her 6-iron ap­proach to within 12 feet.

“She’s a very steady golfer,” said Reed, the No. 3 seed. “Very con­sis­tent.”

Phillips

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