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Grier wins Maryland Women's Open

August 09, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Ashley Grier rode the wings of her record-setting performance to capture the Maryland Women's Open golf championship Tuesday at Caves Valley Golf Club.

Grier, 22, of Hagerstown, followed up her tournament-record 65 from Monday with a 2-under-par 70 for a 9-under 135 - also a tournament record and three strokes better than defending champion Collette Matthes' 138. Grier became the fifth amateur to win the title in the eight-year history of the tournament.

"Going in, I wanted to win and thought I had a good chance because I've played well the least three tournaments," said Grier. "I didn't know how tough the pros would be, but I was confident going against the other amateurs."

Grier bested a field of 77 players that included 23 professionals. Her near-flawless round included one birdie and one bogey on her front-nine 36 and a back-nine 34 that included a pair of birdies.

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With a three-shot lead following the first round, Grier knew she simply had to stay focused Tuesday on a Caves Valley layout that played to a short 5,789 yards.

"I just wanted to play steady golf ... not to force anything," said Grier.

Matthes, playing in the group ahead of Grier, posted two early birdies to make an early charge following her opening-round 68.

With consistent ball-striking that led to reaching 17 greens in regulation, Grier broke a string of five pars on the back nine with a 5-foot putt for birdie on the par-4, 315-yard 14th.

After a par on 15, she was closing in on the crown when a 6-foot putt on the par-4 345-yard 16th dropped in the cup.

"I was feeling real good about having won after that birdie on 16," said Grier.

Grier played the par 5s in 3-under over two days and credited work on her short game to her success.

"Practice on the short game helped because I had a lot of shots in the 80- to 100-yard range," said Grier, who will be among the competitors in the WACO Championship this weekend at Beaver Creek.

"It's nice to add the championship of your state to your resume," said Grier, who will also have an eye toward the Futures Tour Qualifying School in Florida in early November.

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