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Bellomy set to defend title in W.Va. Women's Am

Jul. 30, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Brooke Bellomy of Ona begins defense of the West Virginia Women's Amateur golf title Tuesday on the par-72 Stonehaven course at The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, W.Va.

"It feels good coming in that way," Bellomy said Sunday night. "My dad (Brian, who is also her caddy) and I have talked about it. It's the main tournament of the summer. I know what it takes."

Bellomy, a Cabell Midland High School graduate and a junior at Campbell University in North Carolina, won her first State Am in 2012 at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston. She shot rounds of 71-73-73 for a 225 and 8-shot triumph over Kimberly Eaton of Shepherdstown.

During the first week of July, Bellomy worked the range at the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. She also got new irons and hybrids and tested them at the Virginias-Carolinas Women's Team Matches held July 15-17 on the Palmer Course at Stonewall Resort.

"They're working well. I'm hitting the ball so much farther," Bellomy said.

Bellomy, the reigning state Player of the Year, had a strong finish in those team matches. After an 0-3 start, she was paired with Hannah Pierce of Longwood University in Virginia to win five matches and tied another. The Carolinas team won, 56-52.

"We worked well together," Bellomy said. "I got off to a slow start, but made a lot of putts the second and third days. Wow!"

Glade Springs has been the home of the Women's Am in the past, but this is the first time players will compete on Stonehaven. Opened in 2003, the course was ranked as the second-best course in the Mountain State by Golf Digest in its 2012-2013 edition. Stonehaven measures 5,114 yards from the front tees. Bellomy got in practice rounds last week and Monday.

"The short game and putting will be important," Bellomy said. "You've got to hit fairways. The greens are tough and they can put the pins in some tough spots. You have to be patient. Take chances when they're there."

In past year, the Women's Am has attracted large fields. This time, though, the entry total is just 34.

Bellomy is paired with Eaton and three-time champion Nicolle Flood-Sawczyszyn in the opening round.

Flood-Sawczyszyn, a former pro who regained her amateur status in 2007, won her first Women's Am in 2008 on the Cobb course at Glade Springs. She finished 1-under for 54 holes to become the first player in tournament history to finish in red numbers. She won by a shot over former Marshall University golfer Samantha DiDomenico in 2009 at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Hurricane.

Flood-Sawczyszyn won by the same margin over Bellomy in 2010 at The Pines Country Club, her home course in Morgantown. With seven holes left, she led by 10 shots. She struggled down the stretch, but made birdie on the final hole to capture the title. She shot 77 that day and Bellomy a 68.

"She hits a long ball," Bellomy said. "That could benefit her. It depends on how they set up the course. At the Virginias-Carolinas, she putted great. She made everything."

After the Women's Am, Bellomy will head back to Campbell University for her third collegiate season. Last year, she led the team in stroke average (75.56, 36 rounds), made All-Big South Conference and played in the NCAA Central Regional where the Lady Camels finished 20th out of 24 teams. She started the season with a victory in the Golfweek Program Challenge at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club at Pawley's Island, S.C. She shot 68-75-68 for a 1-under 211, the lowest 54-hole score in school history.

Three high school players to watch are Lauren Davidson (Parkersburg High), Adeena Shears (Parkersburg South) and Sydney Snodgrass of Ritchie County. Snodgrass won the West Virginia Junior Amateur earlier this month.

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