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July 17, 2006

Charlottesville, VA – Virginia junior golfer Kristen Simpson finished second at the Virginia State Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship, which concluded Friday at Farmington Country Club. Simpson, from Norfolk, lost to Carol Green of Tazewell 3 and 1.

A former standout golfer at James Madison, Green won five of the final six holes of the match to claim her first State Women’s Am title.

In a well-played match by both golfers on the first nine, Simpson got the match to all square at the par-4 fifth hole, knocking a 5-iron approach to 10 feet before draining the ensuing putt. She got to 1-up a hole later, hitting a 7-iron at the par-3 sixth to within 2 feet. Simpson (pictured left) made par at No. 9 to own a 2-up advantage at the turn. She hit eight of nine greens on the outward half and, counting the concessions that are typically a part of match play, shot two under, while Green was even. There was only one bogey between the golfers on the outward half. Simpson knew she would have to continue her solid play to claim the final.

“Even though I was 2 up at the turn, I knew there was a lot of golf to be played,” Simpson said. “I knew I had to keep going strong.”

After both golfers halved the first two holes on the closing nine with bogeys, Green started to rally and ultimately took control of the match. She won No. 12 with an up and down par from short of the green and squared the match after knocking an approach to 8 feet short of the flagstick for a conceded par at No. 13; Simpson’s second found a fronting greenside bunker and her blast flew too long.

Green continued to change the momentum of the match at the par-5 14th, softly drawing a 4-wood second shot from a downhill lie onto the green to take a 1-up lead, an advantage she would not relinquish. With a par at No. 15 to go 2 up, Green culminated a pivotal four-hole run that saw her win Nos. 12-15, a span in which she was one under.

“That was huge,” said Green. “I knew, `Here’s your chance. You can’t let this pass you by. There are not many holes left.’ When she slipped up just a little bit, I knew that’s when I had to go at the flag.”

Green did just that at the downhill par-3 17th, hitting an 8-iron to 13 feet below the flagstick on a shot she later called “fun to watch.” She put the exclamation point on the comeback, dropping the putt in to end the match.

Despite some missed opportunities on the closing nine, Simpson, who was making her first finals’ appearance, says she takes a plethora of positives from the week.

“I definitely gained a lot more confidence this week. I’ll remember this for a while,” said Simpson, who will be competing in the North-South Women’s Amateur next week. “I made a couple of mistakes coming in, but she played really well on the back nine.”

Note: Some information provided by the Virginia State Golf Association

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