We'd like to believe the game of golf was invented so that Danielle Ammaccapane and Tracy Hanson could come along and play like they did yesterday. Ammaccapane fired a personal-best 9-under 62 and Hanson shot 8-under 63 in the final round of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.
Ammaccapane and Hanson played pressure-free golf with great calmness, opening the day 10 and 11 strokes, respectively, behind the leaders. They went out relaxed and just let it rip.
“My best round ever. I made the turn at 6-under, and I don't think I ever did that before,” said Ammaccapane, whose 28 on the front nine equaled an LPGA record. “I wanted to get to 9-under because it's my personal best. My swing felt good on the [driving] range. I was confident today.”
Hanson played unconscious, shooting 9-under after bogeying No. 1 in equaling her personal-best round. “The wind was down, so that's always a helpful thing,” said Hanson, who shot 4-over 75 Saturday. “But the course, I don't think it played differently in terms of difficulty. I was hitting the ball great.”
The pressure was stifling two hours after Ammaccapane and Hanson completed their rounds at Highland Meadows Golf Club, and I'm not referring to soaring temperatures that approached 90.
It was hot-under-the-collar golf that started around the time ESPN's telecast came on at 4 p.m., the kind of super competitive action that separates the wannabes from the contenders.
When every shot means absolutely everything. And the players with the low scores in the clubhouse are probably glad they're not on the course.
Rachel Teske shooting 5-under 66 on the last day to capture her first Farr title was more like 10-under considering the circumstances.
Teske's reaction to the pressure was to have no reaction at all.
Tied with tour rookie Beth Bauer after 14 holes, Teske birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to put distance between herself and Bauer and lock up her second tournament victory of the year.
“Whenever I'm in contention it's usually because I'm playing well, and I get a lot of confidence from that,” said Teske, who won her first tournament in four months. “I wasn't really concerned with anybody. I was just really focused on making birdies myself. That's what you have to do because there are a lot out there.”
That's easier said than done on the final day. The pressure is immense, because there's little margin for error.
Players know when someone is moving up or down the leaderboard. The trick is not letting it affect their performance.
Teske glanced at the leaderboard at No. 9, and saw she was tied with Bauer for first place. Teske glanced again at No. 17, and saw she was leading Bauer by two strokes. When Teske reached the 18th green, “I looked at the leaderboard then.”
Laura Diaz, who tied with Karrie Webb for third place after leading the tournament after the second round, said she could hear fans cheering behind her yesterday. “I knew something was going on,” Diaz said.
Second-place finisher Bauer said she refused to look at the leaderboard early, “so I never knew what was going on. It wasn't until 17, when I saw Rachel was at 14 [under]. I'm not much of a scoreboard watcher. I find it more of a distraction if you're thinking about it. I was curious at the end. I felt I should know on the last holes.”
Yesterday was the best round at the Farr because there was no tomorrow to play for.