Although it wasn’t the “big prize” she is used to, a local golfing legend added another first place award to her trophy case.
Playing in the 82nd Tennessee Women’s Amateur, Maggie Scott earned top honors in the event’s First Flight.
“It was a fun week. It’s always fun to win,” she said of her victory at the Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville.
Although her qualifying score would have easily put her in the Championship Flight to vie for the state title, Scott chose before play began not to compete in the toughest division.
“I couldn’t play last year (in the event) and haven’t been able to play much this year, so I didn’t feel like I could compete at that level this time around,” explained the retired Bradley County school teacher Saturday morning.
Although her 161 tally in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying was better than nine of the 32 players that made the Championship Flight, she was content to play in the First Flight.
“The Championship Flight was playing at 6,000 yards, which is awfully long for me, while the First Flight was at 5,200, which fits my game better,” Scott related.
“Plus in the Championship flight you have two matches a day on consecutive days and that’s tough on a 65-year-old,” said the 11-time Tennessee Golf Association’s Senior Player of the Year.
“A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t sure I was going to play (in the event), but I talked to Lamar (Mills, the Cleveland Country Club general manager and club pro), and he encouraged me to put in some extra practice and go ahead and play,” Scott stated.
“I played everyday the week before and spent some extra hours each evening on the (driving) range to get ready.”
After shooting an uncharacteristic 13-over-par 85 in the opening round of qualifying, Scott knocked the rust off and bounced back to her normal game the second day.
“I opened the second round with birdie-bogey-birdie and shot a (4-over) 76,” she commented.
Going into the match-play portion of the event, Scott was seeded third in the First flight.
“I beat a gal from Nashville (Angel Cropper) the first day,” Scott said of her 4 and 3 win in the quarterfinals.
“Then the next day I played a little 15-year-old (Viola Greenwood from Cookeville), who is going to be a great player someday,” she assessed. “She could really hit the ball a long way, but I was able to use my experience to sneak up on her.”
The 3 and 2 semifinal victory propelled Scott into the title match Friday morning.
“I had to play Jean Kraft (from Crossville), and we’ve been friends for a long time. I was 2-up at the turn, having won a couple of holes and us tying the other seven,” Scott related.
“I won 10 but lost 11, then won 12 and we tied 13. I won 14, and she won 15, but I was able to wrap it up on 16,” she said of another 3 and 2 win to earn the flight championship.
Scott was going to be playing for the title against a friend either way the other semifinal yet as Kraft defeated Cleveland Country Club member Lisa Daubner by a 3 and 2 margin.
“Lisa really been playing well lately, and she did again this week,” Scott said of her longtime friend and local physician.
“Cherokee is a tough course, with really tough greens since they redid them a few years ago,” she stated. “To be able to get a good win like this at such a tough course makes me feel good.”
The Women’s State Am title came down to a pair of standout college players as Signal Mountain’s Emily McLennan defeated two-time state champion Kendall Martindale 3 and 2 for the crown.
A rising junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, McLennan won the Southern Conference Championship this past season, while Martindale will be a senior at Vanderbilt in the fall and is ranked 46th in the Golfstat Collegiate listing and 113th in the R&A World Amateur rankings.
With the victory over Martindale, who has been among the state’s best golfers since her high school days in Jefferson City, McLennan becomes the first UTC golfer to win the Women’s State Am. Former Moc Steven Fox is the reigning Men’s State Amateur champ, plus won the 2014 Tennessee Open.