Clancy captures first State Amateur golf championship

2014-07-26T22:30:00Z 2014-07-26T23:57:09Z Clancy captures first State Amateur golf championshipBy BILL BIGHAUS bbighaus@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

When it comes to the Montana State Women's Golf Association State Amateur, Kyla Clancy has been a consistent, classy top 10 performer.

Now, she is a champion.

The 20-year-old Clancy, who is from Park City, had some exceptional moments during Saturday's final round at Yellowstone Country Club, along with some struggles, en route to a rousing one-stroke triumph over Dorsey Addicks of Big Sky.

"This is definitely one I wanted," Clancy said of her wire-to-wire, 54-hole victory. "It was home, and a lot of people were cheering for me. I'm glad I was able to make them proud."

Clancy, who plays her college golf at Rocky Mountain College, closed with a 3-over-par 75 on a sunny, sometimes breezy afternoon for a three-day total of 7-over 223.

The 19-year-old Addicks, who shot a final-round of even-par 72 for an 8-over 224, finished second overall by one stroke for the second consecutive summer.

"It was pretty intense," Clancy said of the competition. "Dorsey put up a huge fight. She really came after me. She just fought to the very end."

Clancy, whose previous best State Amateur finish was fourth in 2012 in Whitefish, was followed throughout the nearly 5 1/2-hour round by a large group of family and friends.

Her 15-year-old brother, Liam, was her caddy. They were both decked out in neon green socks, and posed together for pictures with the huge championship trophy.

"Coming down the 18th hole, there's really no better feeling," Clancy said. "I was just so content. I knew I was going to win it, no matter what happened.

"It's probably the best feeling I've ever had in golf."

Clancy began the day with a four-shot cushion over Addicks, and she quickly expanded that to seven by shooting 3-under on the first six holes.

She utilized her strong ball-striking ability, a couple of sensational sand shots and some steady putting in carding birdies on holes 3, 4 and 6.

"I felt amazing," Clancy said of her start. "I felt like I could fight the world."

All that changed on the par-5, 423-yard No. 7 hole when her approach shot hit a tree branch and she wound up with a bogey.

"We had a shot that we couldn't decide what club to hit," Clancy said. "I kind of pulled it into the tree. I ended up bogeying the hole from 100 yards out, and that kind of derailed me for a little bit."

She went on to play holes 7 through 12 in 5-over-par, allowing Addicks, who plays golf at Seattle University, to mount a serious charge.

"I did give Kyla a little run for her money, maybe put a little more pressure on her than she would have liked," Addicks said. "It was fun."

Addicks, who shot a 1-under 35 on the back nine with birdies on Nos. 10, 14, 15 and 18, was within one stroke after making about a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 15.

However, she double-bogeyed the par-5, 16th hole after knocking her tee shot into a clump of trees and then, moments later, her sand shot out of a front bunker overflew the green.

Trailing by three strokes on No. 18, Addicks made things interesting once again by burying a long birdie putt, but Clancy just had to tap in for a bogey and the victory.

"My first thought was 'God, I wish I would have made that par putt,'" Clancy said. "But the second was 'You know, I'll take bogey because a win is a win no matter how close it is.'"

Clancy, a state prep champion at Billings Central and an All-America selection at Rocky, has been playing golf since age 7. This was her seventh State Amateur. 

This time around, Clancy said Liam provided a valuable assist -- and not just with club selection.

"He was there to calm me down," she said. "He was good at that."

Their father, Patrick, died in 2006, and Kyla said she dedicated Saturday's victory to him.

"If he would have been here, he probably would have been my caddy," Kyla said. "But I think he was right there with us today, walking with us.

"Whenever I really get down on myself, I just remember I'm out here playing and he's looking down, smiling and loving that I'm out here."

In the Senior (age 50 and up) portion of the tournament, Helena's Susan Court, who started the day with a 10-shot lead, won by nine strokes over Laurel's Sue Matson.

Court, who also won state in 2010, shot a closing 88 for a 250 total. Matson put together an 87 for a 259.

In emerging with the victory, Court survived three double bogeys during her final round.

"It wasn't as clean as the first two days, but it was enough and it was a win — and a win feels awfully good this year," she said.

The 57-year-old Court said earlier in the week that she wanted to get a second state title to prove that her first wasn't a fluke.

"It's more satisfying," she said of her second championship. "No. 1, I'm older. The good rounds that I have left in my life are probably fewer, so it's just very satisfying to have put three days of good, competitive golf together."

There were 83 seniors competing over the three days, along with 53 amateurs.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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