Local golf notes

Defending champ Miranda heads tough Columbia City Women’s Championship field

bspear@thestate.comJune 1, 2014 

Second in the 2013 Carolinas Women’s Amateur in 2013. Second in the 2009 Carolinas Junior Girls. Second in the 2012 City Women’s Championship. Yes, Kathryn Miranda had been close before to earning an individual title to remember.

The breakthrough came a year ago in the Sonic Columbia City Women’s Championship, and she will return to defend her title Tuesday-Thursday at Spring Valley Country Club.

“I was excited then (to win) and I’m excited to be playing the tournament again,” Miranda said. “I played well last year, and I was proud of the way I handled playing under pressure. It was very satisfying.”

Miranda played a large role in Lexington High’s dynasty, competing on five state championship teams, and she played four years at the College of Charleston. She has earned her degree from the College of Charleston in biology and will begin pre-doctorial studies in biomedical science at South Carolina this fall.

Miranda will face what tournament chair Tudy Clark calls “a strong field.” Among the top challengers will be three-time champion Kelli Murphy, four-time winner Cecelia Barksdale Fournil, and Leigh Coulter, a member of Furman’s 1976 national championship team.

In winning a year ago at Columbia Country Club, Miranda opened a seven-shot lead after two rounds and coasted to a two-stroke victory with a final 73 for a 3-under-par 213 total.

Murphy, a recent Lugoff-Elgin graduate who will play at Auburn, finished second, ending her bid to become the event’s first four-time winner.

The City Women’s Championship started in 1962 with Mary Lou Crowder winning the first two titles and Kat Salley prevailing in 1964. But the event fell dormant for a generation, resuming in 1985, and has been a fixture on the calendar since.

“Our history shows we had 31 players that first year,” Clark said. “But the tournament has continued to grow both in numbers and overall strength of the fields. We will have more than 70 players this year, and the senior division is especially strong.”

Nancy Dodge will be seeking her third straight title in the senior division.

Tee times and first-round pairings will be available Sunday afternoon at (columbiawomenscitygolf.webs.com).

Chip shots

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