Originally created 09/25/98

Home-course advantage helps Cross win tourney



The field in the CSRA Women's Golf Association 54-hole Championship should have seen it coming.

Jan Cross was only two shots off the lead entering Thursday's final round, which was scheduled for West Lake Country Club, where Cross is a nine-time women's club champion.

The first round had been played at Houndslake and the second at Goshen Plantation.

True to form, Cross overtook second-round leader Mary Habersham of Woodside Plantation to win her third 54-hole Championship by six shots. Her previous wins came in 1989 and 1996.

Cross closed with a 6-over-par 79 at West Lake, the low score of the day by four shots. Defending champion Sandra Moody of Pointe South, seeking a record sixth 54-hole title, had the day's second-best score, an 83, to finish third. Goshen Plantation's Eydie Jones had an 86 to finish second.

For the rotating-tournament event, Cross finished at 241, Jones at 247 and Moody at 248. Habersham, the second-round leader, shot 94 Thursday and finished fifth at 254.

Cross shot 81-81-79, Jones had 81-80-86, Moody 80-85-83 and Habersham 84-76-94.

"We have a tournament every month and you play with the same women, but this is playing three days on three different courses," Cross said. "This is the championship event. It means more to play well three days to win. We're all friends and we enjoy playing with each other, but we're serious -- we want to win."

Habersham has been playing in the association since 1993, but had never been the leader entering the final round of this tournament.

"I felt a lot of pressure," Habersham said. "I've never had that feeling before. I felt like I wasn't coming through the ball like I should because something was holding me back. I didn't play very well at all."

Just because she had the home-course advantage didn't mean Cross felt like the tournament would be hers. In addition to having to turn in a strong score, she also was dealing with the responsibility of being the tournament director for this year's event.

"I think it added a little bit more pressure on me knowing I should know the course better than the other girls," Cross said. "It's an advantage knowing the course, but it's a disadvantage in knowing where you don't want to be, also."

Cross was well aware of what happened to Moody in the second round this year. After taking the opening-round lead at Houndslake with an 80, the scene shifted to Goshen, Moody's former home course. A former women's club champion there, Moody shot 85 on a day when "my swing just wasn't there," she said.

Due to back problems, Moody had played only a few rounds since last October.

"I started picking up the clubs about a month ago and trying to practice a little bit," Moody said. "It added a little pressure not having played in any tournaments recently. It was tough. I did fine the first day and then blew it the second day."

Cross would have won by an even larger margin if not for the problems she experienced on the par-4 14th hole. After visiting two bunkers and leaving two shots in one of them, she emerged with a quadruple bogey 8. She did have birdies on Nos. 4, 10 and 15. She chipped in for birdies on two of those holes (Nos. 4 and 10).