There’s no place like home — particularly if you’re playing golf on the Country Club of Virginia’s appealing but sinister Tuckahoe Creek Course.
Four CCV members advanced Tuesday to the second round of Women’s City Amateur match play at Tuckahoe Creek. Joining the usual suspects — Boodie McGurn and Lindsay Wortham, who between them own seven city titles — were Nell O’Neil, who is playing for the first time in the RWGA City Amateur; and Brenda Baril. Each took full advantage of familiarity with the long, demanding course.
“It totally helps,” O’Neil said. “I played out here so much [during the pandemic]. Knowing the course — knowing what to hit and where to hit it — definitely makes a difference.”
Said Baril: “It’s such a hard course to score on. The greens are so fast and there’s so much water. Club selection is important. On a day like [Tuesday], when the wind is blowing, club selection is very important.”
O’Neil punched her ticket to the second round with a 3-and-1 victory over three-time champion Maggie Balch. She put her most reliable weapons — poise and patience — to good use. Often, it was O’Neil, a City Amateur newcomer, who seemed comfortable and confident despite the pressure of one-and-done competition.
“To some extent, yes, I surprised myself,” O’Neil said. “Maggie is such a good player and has such a great history in this tournament. I said, ‘Just stay steady. Just play your own game and do what you do well. You’ll be OK.’ I felt like I had it in me.”
She was correct. O’Neil lost two of the first three holes but won the par-5 5th and the par-4 6th. She took command of the match when Balch’s putter became rebellious on the back nine.
O’Neil, 60, said she first played golf as a 10-year-old but began only recently to invest serious time and effort in the sport.
“I guess it just goes to show: It’s never too late,” she said.
Baril, arguably the most adept multitasker in the 74-player field, overcame an erratic front nine to defeat Kim Harrington 2 and 1. Baril built a quick 4-up advantage, then lost three in a row.
“I think I got a little lax” while finishing the front nine, she said. “I had to work hard to regroup and pick things up again” after making the turn. “Consistent, solid golf: That was my goal on the back nine.”
Baril used her putter to keep Harrington at arm’s length.
“My short game was really good,” she said. ”I made a lot of up-and-down one-putts. If I missed the green, I’d make a good chip to 5 feet, maybe 6. Then I’d make the putt.” All in all, she said, “it was a lovely way to play.”
Baril said McGurn, Wortham, and Natalie Easterly, a CCV member who won five city championships while living in Richmond, “have helped me a lot. They’ve given me a lot of advice and a lot of pointers” about how best to attack Tuckahoe Creek.
Golf isn’t the only activity on Baril’s mind this week. She also sells residential real estate in Richmond and serves as the board chairman of a Farmville-area nursing home. In addition, she is awaiting her daughter’s wedding in Atlanta in 10 days. Is the tournament a soothing escape? Or a distraction?
“It’s all good,” she said. “It’s all about prioritizing. When I need to focus” on a particular endeavor, “I can focus.”
McGurn and Wortham advanced in convincing fashion. McGurn posted a 7-and-6 victory over Anne Greever. Wortham won 5 and 4 over Maureen Daugherty.
Other first-round winners: No. 1 seed and reigning champion Nevia Cashwell (4 and 3 over Pam Luse) and three-way qualifying medalists Kristine Rohrbaugh (1 up over Deb Kelo), Joanne Kitusky (3 and 1 over Cindy Hollingshead) and Peggy Freeman (4 and 3).
N. Cashwell d. P. Luse 4-3; N. O’Neil d. M. Balch 3-2; P. Freeman d. E. Chang 4-3; B. McGurn d. A. Greever 7-6; K. Rohrbaugh d. D. Kelo 1-up; L. Wortham d. M. Dougherty 5-4; J. Kitusky d. C. Hollingshead 3-1; B. Baril d. K. Harrington 2-1.
N. Cashwell v. N. O’Neil 10:38; P. Freeman v. B. McGurn 10:46; K. Rohrbaugh d. L. Wortham 10:54; J. Kitusky v. B. Baril 11:02.
P. Luse v. M. Balch 11:10; E. Chang v. A. Greever 11:18; D. Kelo v. M. Dougherty 11:26; C. Hollingshead v. K. Harrington 11:34.
A. Cherry d. B. Shelhorse 4-3; R. Rohrbaugh d. G. Schenck 5-4; K. Lee d. P. Crowley 3-2; Y. Kim d. M. Humphrey 20 holes; S. Hodges d. M. Lavinder 4-3; K. Knight d. J. Cimburke 3-2; R. Norton d. M. Cole 20 holes; Y. Sung d. C. Wray 1-up.
A. Cherry v. R. Rohrbaugh 9:34; K. Lee v. Y. Kim 9:42; S. Hodges v. K. Knight 9:50; R. Norton v. Y. Sung 9:58.
B. Shelhorse v. G. Shenck 10:06; P. Crowley v. M. Humphrey 10:14; M. Lavinder v. J. Cimburke 10:22; M. Cole v. C. Wray 10:30.
J. Darden d. B. Musick 1-up; M. Robinson d. B. Brooks 2-1; T. Aguiar d. D. Swinson 2-up; L. LaFors d. E. Davis 3-2; V. Sarrett d. M. McGehee 2-1; J. Cashion d. N. Newfield 2-1; B. Johnson d. Katherine Berry 3-1; A. Muzette Wozniak d. S. Talarico 5-3.
J. Darden v. M. Robinson 8:30; T. Aguiar v. L. LaFors 8:38; V. Sarrett v. J. Cashion 8:46; B. Johnson v. A. Muzette Wozniak 8:54.
B. Musick d. B. Brooks 9:02; D. Swinson v. E. Davis 9:10; M. McGehee v. N. Newfield 9:18; K. Berry v. S. Talarico 9:26.
C. Plotkin d. P. Peterson 3-2; S. Lilli d. M. Owens 19 holes; CJ George d. K. Bentley 1-up; G. Haqggerty d. C. Lee 2-1; J. McComb d. D. Daniel 5-4; S. Sledd d. T. Owens 19 holes; T. Holloway d. M. Droney 3-2; J. Schultheis d. D. Morgan 7-6.
C. Plotkin v. S. Lilli 12:14; CJ George v. G. Haggerty 12:22; J. McComb v. S. Sledd 12:30; T. Holloway v. J. Schultheis 12:38.
P. Peterson v. A. Owens 12:46; K. Bentley v. C. Lee 12:54; D. Daniel v. T. Owens 1:02; M. Droney v. D. Morgan 1:10.