Laura Phillips,15, a 10th grader at St. Aloysius, won the Warren Central Junior Championship at Clear Creek Wednesday. Laura is the daughter of Eleanor and Greg Phillips.
A Happy Birthday - Wednesday's Warren Central Junior Championship at Clear Creek had come down to one putt on No. 18.
St. Aloysius golfer Laura Phillips carefully glanced at the green at her potential tournament-winning putt, which was about 5 yards and downhill.
Her glance was deep in concentration, as she needed the par putt to drop to beat partner Karley Whittington, who charged from five shots back at No. 10 to tie for the lead.
Laura easily knocked in the putt to win the title and celebrate her 15th birthday in grand style.
Was she thinking about the significance of the day? Not really..
"When I was playing, I didn't even remember about it being my birthday," Laura said. "I didn't say "Well, I won and it's my birthday." But it's pretty neat birthday present."
It's been a great week for Laura, who has been playing golf seriously for two years after giving up her clubs as a youngster for gymnastics.
She was picked to play in the True South Classic Pro-am and she drew raves for her play from her professional playing partner, Senior Tour and Greenwood resident Jim Gallagher Jr. Tuesday at Annandale Golf Club in Madison. Laura pared all six holes she played.
Laura's mother, Eleanor Phillips, could see a big confidence boost after her performance. "I think it was really huge for her," Eleanor Phillips said. "She really played well. She was really nervous as the only girl, but I thought she held her own."
On the first day of the tournament, Laura and 12-year-old Karley battled shot for shot and ended the day tied with 85s.
On the front nine, Laura pulled away as her long drives gave her a big advantage and Karley struggled to keep pace.
But a couple of bad holes at the start of the back nine, coupled with some nice shot-making by Karley, set the stage for a magnificent finish.
Laura regained her composure and pared all but one hole the rest of the way.
"I got nervous," Laura said of her struggles on No. 10 and No. 11. "I'm glad it was a short putt, it was down hill, but it was an easy putt."
Karley's work on the back nine was stellar, as she ground out pars and got a birdie on No. 15 to keep the pressure up.
"I tried to put pressure on her, but she held it," Karley said. "I knew her score and I was keeping up with it, but I was focused on my game more than I've ever before. Still, I'm pretty happy to be second in the 14- and 15-year-old girls (division), because I'm only 12. I can't complain." By Steve Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura won the Junior Warren County yesterday on her birthday. It was a two day tournament. She shot 85 80 to win by one. They were tied going into 17. Laura made her putt on 18 for par to win the tournament.
Laura and Jim Gallagher in the Pro-Am at the True South Classic at Annandale.