Smith takes rollercoaster ride to 8th IGA Women’s Match Play title
Leanne Smith (pictured right) is the 8th IGA Women’s Match Play Champion – but it wasn’t easy. Smith, from Indianola, jumped out to an early 3 up lead through eight holes against Joy Chou, of Ames. Smith would stretch her lead to 4 up through 10 holes and would even be dormie through 16 holes.
That’s when things go interesting, or maybe to Smith a little unsettling. Chou would win holes 16-18 to square the match and send it to extra holes. Fortunately for Smith her birdie putt on the 19th hole found the bottom of the cup and end the match in her favor.
“I was three up to with three to play and had a little four-footer uphill,” Smith said. “I thought I would just slam it in the right side and it moved a little more than I thought it would, so on to the next (hole). Then I got caught in some rough on #17 and left it short. She’s (Chou) is a great player and she capitalized.”
Smith, who defeated Paige Seiser also in 19 holes to reach the finals, also commented that her early success with the putter in final match was key.
“I felt kind of streaky,” Smith said. “I could really see the line. I was just trying to hang in there and not mistakes.”
Smith, who had to win four matches in two days, thought playing an opening round match was helpful.
“I was really nervous in the first couple matches I played,” Smith admitted. “After I got into the finals I could breathe. I think playing in the first round helps me a lot.”
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