Steady, consistent Phillips queen of ASGA match play
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.”