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Student captures women's amateur

Aug. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

DANIELS, W.Va. -- The blip Sydney Snodgrass is making on the West Virginia golf radar got a little bigger Thursday.

The Ritchie County High senior, twice a Class AA All-Stater and winner of the Junior Amateur 15-18 girls division two weeks ago, added the West Virginia Women's Amateur championship to her growing resume on Thursday.

Snodgrass rolled in a 4-foot par putt on the 18th hole to cap off a round of 1-over-par 73 on the Stonehaven course at The Resort at Glade Springs and win by a shot over Kimberly Eaton of Shepherdstown. Snodgrass, who led after round one and shared the lead with three-time Women's Am champion Nicolle Flood-Sawczyszyn, had a 54 hole total of 221.

Three-putt bogeys on the final two holes dropped Eaton to second at 222 after a closing 72. She led by a shot with two to play, but the three putts did her in.

"I've put in a lot of work," said Snodgrass, who at 17 is one of the youngest Women's Am winners in the event's 90-year history. "These two wins (Junior Am and Women's Am) validate all that work."

Flood-Sawczyszyn stayed in the title chase until the par-5 16th. Her tee shot sailed right and found the trees and she whiffed on her first attempt to escape. She later had to take an unplayable lie and all that trouble led to a triple-bogey 8. She posted a 75 and 223.

Brooke Bellomy of Ona, the 2012 winner, had a tough title defense. The Ona native and junior at Campbell University shot 80 Thursday to finish ninth alone at 236. She came down with strep throat prior to round two.

Snodgrass, playing in this event for the first time, had quite the round going until the par-4 14th. Three under at the time, she blocked her tee shot right into the trees and a lost ball led to a double bogey. On No. 16, Snodgrass had her problems, too. Her drive went left into the trees, she played her second back to the fairway, finally got on the green in five and two putts gave her a seven and sent Eaton into the lead.

"It kind of got away from me on those two swings, but I was still there," Snodgrass said. "I've started doing yoga. I kept my composure. In the past I'd have gotten a little mad. I made pars on the final two holes and that was enough."

Eaton, 24, could only think about those costly three putts. "I didn't know where I was, but I knew I was close," she said. " I'm happy with the way I played. It was very exciting. I found the greens tricky all week. Two putts on the final holes just didn't happen."

On the final 18, Eaton's miss set the stage for Snodgrass. She said she felt comfortable over the putt despite what was riding on it. She found that comfort zone thanks to swing coach Sarah Yost of Fairmont. Yost served as caddie, too.

"Sarah has me make 100 putts in a row from 4 feet each practice," Snodgrass said. "I knew how long it was. I said, 'I've got it.' Nerves didn't bother me. I trusted my game. Sarah's done so much for me. I feel so much more comfortable and confident out there."

Other than the Junior Am and Women's Am, Snodgrass has spent the summer traveling to junior events across the country. One of the majors was the North-South at Pinehurst Resort.

"The better competition helps make me better," the Harrisville resident said.

Snodgrass is back in the Mountain State on Friday as she begins play in the West Virginia Match Play at Edgewood Country Club. Next week, she'll join her Ritchie County teammates for the high school season. That means competing against the boys one final time.

"Transition time again," she said. The Rebels won state titles her freshman and sophomore seasons.

Thursday's win should create a spike in the college's interest in Snodgrass. Marshall, UAB and Coastal Carolina are among the growing list of schools hoping win the recruiting battle.

"To be wanted like that is awesome," Snodgrass said.

Flood-Sawczyszyn, 37, saluted the effort by Snodgrass, particularly the way the teen recovered from two double bogeys.

"Except for that she played nicely all day," Flood-Sawczyszyn said. "Being chased all summer has helped her. It's a new chapter for me. It's great to see all these young players do so well. It's going to make things tougher in the future."

The win gave Snodgrass the low junior honor as well. Low senior was Caroline Ramsey, who tied for seventh (235).

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