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WOMEN'S GOLF: Gumm advances to State Am final (06/26)

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By Greg Crews

 

By GREG CREWS gcrews@thenewsenterprise.com GEORGETOWNLydia Gumm has hit a lot of amazing shots in her lifetime, but she called her approach shot on the 18th hole Thursday the greatest she has ever hit. Tied after 17 holes in her quarterfinal match at the 83rd annual Women’s State Amateur golf tournament, the North Hardin High School freshman put her tee shot in the right rough, just inches away from water. Her opponent, Lindsay Gahm, hit her drive down the middle of the fairway. Gumm watched Gahm hit her approach shot shy of the green before Gumm kicked off her shoes and socks, trudged into the water and struck her ball. “It was the best shot of my life,” said Gumm, who hit the shot right on line and just a little long. “I was just trying not to fall and I focused on hitting down on the ball. “I had to get it over two bunkers and it was about 3 feet up on a slope, so I had to choke down a lot,” she added. “It was a really tough shot.” Gahm bogeyed and Gumm rolled in a par to claim the match (1-up) before rolling to a win over Emily Wolff in the semifinals, 4 and 3, to advance to today’s championship flight final at Cherry Blossom Golf Club, where she will meet Eastern Kentucky University’s April Emerson. “That shot (on the 18th) really gave me a boost for the next round,” said Gumm, who led from the first hole on against Wolff. “Plus we had a little break between rounds and that gave me a chance to hit some drivers on the range and figure out what I was doing wrong.” Emerson advanced to the final by beating a pair of area players. She defeated Murray State sophomore and Central Hardin High School graduate Morgan Cross in 19 holes in the quarterfinals before defeating Middle Tennessee State sophomore and Central Hardin graduate Karisa Akin in the semifinals, 4 and 3. Akin won her quarterfinal match over Megan Pendergraff, 4 and 3. “The first match I played pretty good. I was on track to shoot 67 if I parred the last three holes,” Akin said. “The last round, I didn’t get any bounces my way, my dad and I didn’t read putts well and (Emerson) didn’t make any mistakes.” It was the second time Akin had made it to the semifinals, tying her finish in 2006. For Cross, meanwhile, it marked the second time in three years that she had at least made it to the quarterfinals. Last year she didn’t make it to the quarterfinals, but won the consolation bracket. “I’m comfortable with this format,” said Cross, who called match play her favorite format. “I think I played fairly well this week. I’ve had trouble with my swing the entire spring, so I guess I didn’t really expect to get this far.” Cross nearly kept the run going Thursday as she battled back and forth with Emerson before falling in sudden death. “I was up three after five or six holes, then I lost four straight on (holes No.) 8, 9, 10 and 11,” Cross said. “I went to 17 down two. I birdied 17 and 18 to tie it and then she birdied and I parred.” With the heat and dry weather, the course had firmed up a bit and the intimidating rough had become a bit easier according to Akin. But while the heat may have made the course easier, it made the playing conditions that much harder. “It’s so hot outside today that it just makes you weak,” Akin said. “Physically I was weak. Mentally nothing was wrong, it was just physically exhausting. But everyone had to play in it, so that’s no excuse for losing.” If the heat had an affect on Gumm, she did a good job of hiding it. Gumm started her second round of the day with a birdie to take a one-hole lead and never looked back. She was up three after eight holes and led by at least two the rest of the round. Today, she will be looking to keep that momentum going as she competes in the final for the first time. “I’m tired, but tomorrow I’ve just got to wake up and it’s a brand new day,” Gumm said. “I’ve had a good week and I’m playing well. I feel good about my game right now and I just hope I can keep it up.” CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT CONSOLATION. Elizabethtown resident Kim Hartlage will face Laura McGehee today for the championship after claiming her semifinal match over Krissy Martin, 1 up. THIRD FLIGHT. Dennise Mudd of West Point was up one after 18 holes in her match against Rie Yanagawa to advance to today’s final, where she will meet Devin Brieske. FOURTH FLIGHT. Melba Kindervater, an Elizabethtown resident, lost her semifinal match to Betty Williamson, 5 and 4. Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754