Beaufort News

Woodard cruises past Levonowich for WSCGA Match Play title

Dawn Woodard figured she wouldn't need much more than steady play.

The Greer resident had almost two decades experience on her opponent in the Women's S.C. Golf Association Match Play Championship final, held Friday at Sanctuary Golf Club at Cat Island. She knew to be patient, that the younger player might struggle.

And so Woodard didn't press as she coasted to a 5 and 4 victory over Hilton Head Island's Minami Levonowich. Woodard, 36, drained a 40-foot birdie putt to close the match on hole No. 14.

She built her advantage after Levonowich made four consecutive bogeys.

"Usually, when you're playing a younger player, at some point, consistency will beat them," said Woodard, who won the match play event for a second consecutive year. "And that's sort of my mantra out there, is that if I keep doing what I do best ... at some point, you'd think that would catch up with them."

Eighteen-year-old Levonowich, a student the past four years at Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, tried to resurrect the match with a birdie at No. 12. But she lipped a short par putt the next hole to go four down.

Levonowich said she got sick twice on the way to the golf course earlier in the week but felt better Friday. She said this week was the first time she advanced past the first round in a match play event.

"I was playing well in the beginning," she said. "But I think I was rushing myself. I kept making mistakes."

Woodard was competing in the event for the third time, winning both tournaments held at Cat Island. She also has won the past three state amateurs, a streak that likely will end this year. The state amateur is scheduled for the same week as the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur, which Woodard plans to play.

Woodard's 12-year-old daughter, Ashli, drove their cart during the round and waited for a hug as Woodard walked off the green following her final putt.

Woodard started strong, with an eagle on the opening hole to top Levonowich's birdie.

"The first few holes of this golf course are tough and could go either way," Woodard said. "I figured if I could weather the storm through there and get to No. 6 -- then I feel comfortable out there."

2011 Women's S.C. Golf Association Match Play

Championship flight

Dawn Woodard def. Minami Levonowich, 5&4

Consolation: Claire Brown def. Cathy Hill, 1 up

Flight 2

Rachel Uremovich def. Mary Chamberlin, 5&3

Consolation: Kathryn Day def. Frankie Garber, 3&2

Flight 3

Tori Langen def. Carole Stone, 3&2

Consolation: Chris Shadoan def. Babs McIntosh, 1 up

Flight 4

Teddy Stockwell def. Laura Rawl, 2 up

Consolation: Bobbie Callaway def. Cathy Robinson, 1 up (19 holes)

Flight 5

Ginger White def. Kathy Hutchinson, 5&3

Consolation: Mary Garnier def. Cindy Teets, 8&6