Augusta's Elaine Montano didn't just face self-imposed pressure to repeat this week as the CSRA Women's Golf Association 54-Hole championship winner. She was feeling it from co-workers too.
When Montano, a 42-year-old marketing manager at La-Z-Boy Furniture on Wrightsboro Road, won the 2002 title, she brought the tournament trophy to work.
"This year, they told me, 'don't come in unless you have the trophy with you,"' Montano said. "It was a little threat."
Thursday afternoon, after winning the title by 13 shots at West Lake Country Club in Martinez, the Goshen Plantation Golf Club golfer went to work with the trophy in hand.
"My goal was to keep the trophy," said Montano, who shot 5-over-par 75 at West Lake. She finished at 18-over 232 after even-par 72 at Pointe South Golf Club in Hephzibah on Monday and 13-over 85 at Aiken's Houndslake Country Club on Tuesday.
It was the third victory in this season-ending tournament for Montano, who also won in 1987. She's tied for third place in victories behind Betty Wren and Sandra Moody (five wins each) and Walton Horton and Kitty Bartley (four each). The tournament started in 1962.
Montano carried a four-shot lead into the final round over Moody, and led Bonnie McCormick, the first-round leader, by six shots.
"I felt there was some good competition after the first day," Montano said. "Bonnie shot 71 and I played with her. She made all the putts. I knew it would be tough."
It didn't turn out that way. On Tuesday, McCormick dropped back with 92 at water-logged Houndslake, and Montano moved into the lead.
Montano, who had 13 pars and five bogeys Thursday, was never challenged, especially after shooting 1-over 35 on the front nine with eight pars and a bogey.
"I made four or five pars in a row to start off; usually when I do that I know I'm going to play good," Montano said.
"Oh no, I didn't think I could catch her," said McCormick, one of Montano's playing partners. "She started out playing lights out, and I was a little nervous and shot 42 on the front. She's just a much better player than me. She's a different caliber player."
McCormick had 40 on the back nine for 82, tying for second place with Moody, who had 84. McCormick, who was making her debut in the tournament, won a sudden-death playoff for the runner-up spot with a par on No. 1.
Dee Newberry won the Irene DeBarge Trophy for the low tournament score by a senior. She shot 275.
Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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