Woodard wins 4th straight SC Match Play title

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comJune 21, 2013 

Dawn Woodard chips the ball onto the green at the 17th hole on Friday morning during the Women's S.C. Golf Association Match Play Championship at Sanctuary Golf Club on Cat Island. Woodard won 2 and 1 over Lea Venable, securing her fourth consecutive win in the tournament.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

Make it four.

Lea Venable added her name to a growing list Friday. Courtney Boe, Minami Levonowich, Sammie Buchanan and now Venable have fallen to Greenville's Dawn Woodard in the final of the Women's South Carolina Golf Association Match Play event.

Woodard defeated Venable 2 and 1 at Sanctuary Club on Cat Island to claim her fourth consecutive match play title. The consistency is what competitors have come to expect from Woodard, a former Furman University standout who won the Tennessee State Amateur and S.C. Women's Amateur titles three times each. She has also earned medalist honors three times in the stroke play portion of the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur.

The finalists had met in match play before, most notably at the 2007 Mid-Am at Desert Forest Golf Club in Arizona. Woodard won that first-round match and also defeated Venable en route to a previous S.C. match play title.

"It's match play, so anything could happen," Woodard said. "I don't ever go into it thinking I have an advantage. I just play that course so consistently. I don't make many mistakes."

Venable, from Simpsonville, went 1-up with a par on the first hole.

The match swung early, on Sanctuary's consecutive front-nine par-3s. With Venable in close for a sure birdie on No. 4, Woodard made a 10-foot birdie with a severe break to halve the hole. Woodard then hit her approach to 2 feet on the par-3 fifth to square the match.

Woodard grabbed a 2-up advantage with birdies at Nos. 8 and 9. Venable won No. 14 with a par but couldn't pull the match square. Woodard closed the victory with a par on the 17th after Venable failed to get up and down.

Woodard said the Sanctuary Club sets up well for her, but she detected differences this year. She said tees on a few holes had been pushed back, stretching the length.

"Which I think helped," Woodard said. "Any time they make it longer, that always makes me smile."

Conditions Friday were different than previous years, she said, with breezes from area storm systems affecting decisions.

"It was in our faces on some holes that were longer to begin with," she said.

No matter the setup and weather, Woodard expected a tougher day than Thursday, when she piled up birdies and needed only 26 holes to win her quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

Her mistakes Friday came with a bogey on the par-5 first and another after her approach at the 14th sailed long. She otherwise delivered the clutch shots, as she had the previous three years.

The 2 and 1 win was her closest margin of victory since her first title in 2010, which she won with a birdie on the final hole. She won 5 and 4 each of the last two years.

S.C. Women's Golf Association Match Play Championship

Friday, at Sanctuary Club at Cat Island

Championship match

Dawn Woodard def. Lea Venable 2 and 1

Championship consolation

Maureen Dunnagan def. Elizabeth Thompson 1-up

Senior championship match

Betty Jean Armbruster def. Susan Harden 6 and 5

Senior championship consolation

Frances Matthews def. Cathy Liggett 2 and 1

Senior Flight 2

Carole Stone def. Mary Secoy 3 and 2

Senior Flight 2 consolation

Barbara Schuster def. Shirley Cheek 6 and 4

Senior Flight 3

Darlene Ryan def. Mary Gernier 4 and 2

Senior Flight 3 consolation

Mary Jane Knauss def. Beth Bethel (forfeit)

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