North Carolina Senior Women’s Amateur champion Pat Brogden reads a birdie putt on the back nine at Wilson Country Club during Wednesday’s final round of the 14th championship.
Tom Ham | Wilson Times
After being congratulated by Angela Stewart, left, 2017 North Carolina Women’s Senior Amateur champion Pat Brogden, center, is congratulated by runner-up and defending champion Patty Moore on the No. 18 green at Wilson Country Club on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.
Tom Ham | Times
By Tom Ham
Senior Staff Writer
Garner resident Pat Brogden, a retired middle school teacher, definitely saved her best for a rainy day.
In various stages of rainfall until the final couple holes in Wednesday’s final round at Wilson Country Club, Brogden responded with a record-setting, dominating performance in capturing her fourth Carolinas Golf Association’s North Carolina Senior Women’s Amateur Championship — and her first since 2012.
In a bogey-free round, Brogden fired a 33-35—68, 4-under-par over the par 36-36—72, 5, 563-yard layout, in triumphing by a whopping 14 shots against defending champion Patty Moore of Charlotte. Brogden equaled her career-low round in competition.
Moore wound up the runner-up at 77-79—156. A shot back and tied for third were 2011 winner Angela Stewart of Greenville at 76-81—157 and rookie Debbie Adams of Asheville at 81-76—157. Rounding out the top five was Kathy Binkley of Cornelius at 81-78—159.
In the Second Flight of the Championship Division, reigning Wilson Country Club women’s champion Patch Wilkinson finished fourth at 85-96—181, and Beth Rhyne of WCC placed seventh at 105-102—207.
Lucama’s Cathy Garris, in the First Flight of the Carolinas Division, shared fourth place at 80-85—165. In the Second Flight, Shirley Baker of Happy Valley Country Club deadlocked for seventh at 96-92—188, and Priscilla Brewer of WCC wound up 10th at 96-97—193.
With Moore and Stewart as opponents-spectators in her group, Brogden shattered Moore’s 36-hole record of 1-under 143 with her 142 total and is now deadlocked with Moore for the most championships (four).
“It’s awesome! I can’t really express,” Brogden said of her final round. “It feels really good. I had no idea I had shot the record score. But 2-under for two days is pretty good.”
Of Brodgen replacing her as the record-holder for the low score for two rounds, Moore, a retired school teacher who bested Brogden by a shot in 2016, responded: “The conditions weren’t great and she deserved it. She was hitting the ball so straight. It was impressive.”
Indeed, Brodgen hit 15 greens and 16 fairways in regulations. For the second straight round, she avoided a three-putt. She was especially proud of sinking four testy par putts.
“It was extremely important for me to do that to keep a bogey-free round,” said Brogden, who was prompted to respond with a fist pump after sinking a par putt on No. 17. “I’m a fairly straight hitter of the ball and hitting fairways and greens is my game. “I happened to putt well — and that’s key out here.
If Moore and Stewart harbored comeback hopes, they quickly dissipated. Brogden birdied Nos. 2, 5, 9 and 11. She didn’t seem fazed by rainy conditions that were most prevalent at the outset of a round that began at 9:30 a.m. via a shotgun start.
“It is what it is, and you can’t change it,” Brogden reasoned. “Everybody played in the same conditions. I kept my swing simple. I tried not to over-swing and tried to keep the ball on line.”
Moore and Stewart, a practicing pediatrician, approached the final round with realistic expectations.
“I knew I had to shoot even, maybe 2-over, and hope she didn’t turn it on _ which she did,” Moore remarked. “Unbelievably, I didn’t bring enough clothes (for the conditions) and got a little distracted early.
“You always hope you find your game, but mine has been rather spotty. I knew I had to find something — which I didn’t. I didn’t hit my driver very well today, and that hurt me. Still, I had to find an extra gear.”
Stewart was denied a share of second place when a birdie putt of some six feet slipped past the cup on No. 18.
“(Tuesday) was great but, today, I struggled a lot,” Stewart assessed. “It’s hard to control your game when you hit it right and left. Ironically, I had a good short game; otherwise, it would have been a lot worse.”
Stewart joked that she looked forward to retirement — when she could practice as frequently as many of her competitors.
“You get out of the game what you put into it,” she emphasized. “(Brogden) beats me all the time, but I enjoy watching people play good golf.”
Brogden acknowledged she worked on all phases of her game the week before the tournament and continues to consider the tournament a “do not miss” occasion.
“My goal is always to win it when I come here,” she said. “This one is the most satisfying after a few injuries and different things. But you always want to win the championship tournament in the state you represent.”