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Amanda joins her sister, Jessica, as a VHSL champion after winning the Group 2A individual title Tuesday.
Amanda Hollandsworth poses with her individual medal Tuesday after her six-shot victory in the Group 2A state championship.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
FRONT ROYAL — Floyd County senior Amanda Hollandsworth entered the VHSL Group 2A tournament believing she merely had to overcome one albatross.
She quickly learned Tuesday there would be two.
Already facing tightening pressure from trying to become the second member of her family to win an individual state championship, Hollandsworth’s task became more difficult halfway through the second round at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club.
Hollandsworth saw a one-shot lead disappear in an instant as Zach Toohey of Graham pulled off the rarest feat at any level of golf — holing out a long shot from the fairway for a double-eagle on the par-5 ninth hole.
The Floyd senior headed to the 10th tee trailing by a shot and Buffaloes coach Skip Bishop went to work.
“I was shaking all the back nine,” Hollandsworth said. “My coach said, ‘If you can come in even par on the back nine, you’ll be fine.’ ”
Hollandsworth did one better. She parred the first eight holes on the back side, then closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th to close with a 73 that gave her a two-day total of 1-over-par 143 and a six-stroke victory over Toohey.
Floyd County finished third in pursuit of the team title, 14 shots behind champion Graham. The G-Men carded a two-day score of 655 to edge Stonewall Jackson by seven strokes.
Hollandsworth’s individual championship matched the pair of Group A titles her older sister, Jessica, won for Floyd in 2004 and 2007.
“I’ve been carrying it since my freshman year in high school. I’ve always wanted to win a state championship like my older sister had. It’s nice to say that I finally have. This was my last year. I knew that I had to do it.”
Jessica Hollandsworth was on hand early Tuesday, but she had to return to Harrisonburg before seeing her younger sister hit a ball because the second round was delayed by fog for three hours.
That makes the two even. Amanda Hollandsworth missed big sister’s first title in 2004.
“I went her senior year, but the other years I didn’t get to go,” Hollandsworth said. “I’m kind of a nerd. I don’t like to miss school.”
Toohey trailed Hollandsworth by two shots before the final round and would have finished at 147, but he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for tossing a club a few feet to his bag during the back nine.
Toohey did not agree with the ruling.
“I can’t count how many times I’ve done that, not even mad, just nonchalant tossed my club to my bag,” the Graham golfer said. “If I was angry, I would have thrown my club.”
Toohey can take solace in two things. Graham won the team championship, and he made history with his remarkable double-eagle on the 487-yard par-5.
His second shot hit the green, bounced once and rolled into the cup.
“I was about 220 [yards] out and hit a 3-wood,” Toohey said. “I didn’t believe it at first. Neither did my coach. I said, ‘It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! But it might as well have been a birdie with that two-stroke penalty.”
Zach Luttrell of Richlands took third at 153, two shots ahead of Marion’s Austin Blevins.
Hollandsworth, playing in the group behind Toohey, encountered her only trouble on the front nine. She was 1-under-par for the round before she missed a short birdie putt at No. 5.
The Floyd senior chunked two straight wedges, leading to a bogey at No. 6 and a double-bogey at No. 7. Then Hollandsworth hit her tee shot out of bounds on the par-3 8th, leading two another double-bogey.
“I guess the nerves got to me,” she said. “I hadn’t had a double-bogey for six matches. Then I got two in a row. That was frustrating, but I got out of the funk. I talked myself out of playing worse.”
As Hollandsworth cranked up the par machine on the back nine, all that was left was to cap her victory in style. She did it with an up-and-down birdie from a wet lie in back of the green at No. 18, sinking an eight-footer and thrusting her hands skyward with a shout.
“My coach told me I was three up,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if he meant three up with a birdie or three up with a par. I was confused, so I just birdied it.”
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