Indianola’s Leanne Smith (right) was in familiar territory entering Thursday’s semifinal match at the 9th IGA Women’s Match Play Championship.
Smith, who won the title last year at Tournament Club of Iowa, was in the hunt for another title in 2020 at Talons of Tuscany Golf Club in Ankeny. Following a 5&3 up victory over Ankeny’s Karli Kerrigan, Smith met 2018 IGA Women’s Match Play Champion Sydney Eaton, of Mason City.
Eaton, who prevailed in her morning semifinal match against Samantha Knight (3&2) got off to a quick 2 up advantage early in the final match. Smith, who admitted she was ‘searching’ for her game most of the week leading into Thursday’s play, rallied to win three of the last holes on the front nine to take a 1 up lead and command of the match.
“I didn’t really find my game until today,” Smith admitted. “The greens are quick and the rough was thick – I was all over the place. I knew if I stuck with it, I could make some things happen.”
Smith, who won 7 of the last 9 holes of the match before closing out Eaton 4&3, commented she wished more events were match play – they seem to suit her well.
“You always know you have the next hole (in match play),” Smith said. “I try not to get too down or up emotionally. You can have a blow-up hole and still get the next one. As long as you keep yourself together you can come back.”
With the win, Smith hopes her success will continued into next week’s Iowa Women’s Amateur being held at Elmwood Country Club in Marshalltown.
“I have played there a few times,” Smith said. “They have narrow fairways and lots of trees, so I need to get some work in on the range.”