By Ken MacLeod
EDMOND – In a scintillating Women’s Oklahoma State Amateur championship match, Sydney Youngblood’s phenomenal ball striking prevailed over the greenside wizardry of ShaeBug Scarberry.
It was in doubt right to the 18th hole of Oak Tree Country Club’s East Course Thursday, when Youngblood’s approach settled a few feet from the cup after brushing some overhanging tree leaves while Scarberry’s approach sailed long. She was unable to coax her first putt over a ridge in the green, leading to a three-putt and giving Youngblood the 1 up victory.
That was one of the few miscues on the green for Scarberry, who sank a clutch birdie putt from over 20 feet on the par-3 17th to even the match and made seven birdies overall, including a chip-in on the par-4 10th.
Youngblood countered with five birdies of her own and also took advantage of two major miscues by Scarberry, who hit her tee shots in the water on both the par-3 eighth hole and the par-3 13th.
Youngblood, who finished as the runnerup in this event the past two years, was thrilled to put her name on the huge silver trophy. The three-time state champion at Durant will be a redshirt junior on the Oklahoma Sooners squad this fall.
“I had high expectations coming in to the week, but if I lost I wasn’t going to stress about it,” Youngblood said. “Match play is so unpredictable. I’ve grown up playing with ShaeBug and she’s a great player. I knew it would be a good match today.”
Youngblood has been working hard with her instructor on trying to compress her iron shots more to gain both length and accuracy. It is paying dividends. She was impressive both with her driver and iron play and only a few missed short birdie putts marred the morning.
“I’ve been hitting the ball very well lately and not making many putts,” she said. “I was able to roll some in this week.”
Youngblood, who finished fourth in the Texas Women’s Open earlier this summer, said she feels her game has reached a new level and she has high hopes for a special season at OU this fall.
Scarberry, who transferred to Troy after her freshman year at the University of Tulsa, will play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Aug. 5-11 at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss., after first competing for the Oklahoma team in the Four-State Championship next week in Rogers, Ark.
Scarberry was undaunted by being consistently outdriven by 10-15 yards and said preferred to hit her approach shots first, giving her the opportunity to put pressure on her opponent.
“The thing is, Sydney was hitting it so close all day she was putting some of the pressure back on me,” Scarberry said. “She played really well. I thought we both played well except for a couple of shots.”
Neither player ever led by more than one hole. They capped each other’s birdies on the par-5 second and the par-4 fifth. Scarberry took the lead with a conceded birdie on the par-3 sixth hole but the match was even at the turn after her miscue on the par-3 eighth.
After Scarberry’s chip-in birdie on 10, Youngblood evened it right away with a 10-foot birdie putt on 11. Both players made birdie on the par-5 12th and Youngblood chipped over the green into the water on the par-4 13th.
Scarberry missed a 10-foot putt to save par on 15, giving Youngblood her first lead of the match. But after Youngblood’s birdie attempt on 17 spun out, Scarberry coolly drained her long putt to even the match again.
Both players found the fairway on 18, but here Youngblood’s length paid extra dividends. She was able to hit a medium iron in while Scarberry hit a 5-wood that sailed to the back of the green.
Youngblood had been edged out in the championship match by Oklahoma State’s Alexis Sadeghy in 2017 and by her OU teammate Kaitlin Milligan in 2018.
101st Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship
Oak Tree Country Club – East Course
July 22-25, 2019
Sydney Youngblood def ShaeBug Scarberry 1 Up
Teresa DeLarzelere def Nan Dyer 1Up
Kim Bell def Loren Ogburn 6&4
Ann Cowan def Suzy Shields 3&2
Cherie Rich def Laurie Campbell 4&3
Linda Ballard def Lori Garrison 3&1
Carolyn Martin def Jane Crain 1 Up
Patty Brumbaugh def Fran Derrick 3&2
Becky Masoner def Jane LaGree 4&3
Qualifying Round – Championship Flight
ShaeBug Scarberry – Medalist (70)
Lilly Whitley – Junior Medalist (77)
Marna Raburn – Senior Medalist (81)
Kate Goodwin – Putting Champion (27)