BY JORDAN BECK
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. — Down two holes with two to play Friday in the championship match of the Women’s North and South Amateur, Bailey Tardy needed to dig deep.
The incoming Georgia freshman responded, making par on the final two holes while her opponent, Bethany Wu, the top-ranked junior golfer in the world, slipped up just enough to let her back in the match.
After the first sudden-death playoff hole, Tardy found enough mental strength to drain a lengthy par putt on the 376-yard par-4 second and put the pressure on Wu, who saw her 5-foot par putt rim out.
“It was just a tough match,” Tardy said. “We never conceded any holes. Nothing was conceded except for putts, short putts. I think we both played really well, and we were both exhausted. That’s golf.”
For the seventh-seeded Tardy, the victory marked an incredible run in match play that saw her defeat last year’s runner-up, Lori Beth Adams (2 and 1), in the quarterfinals, and the 2013 Junior Girl’s North and South Amateur winner, Anna Redding (4 and 2), Friday morning during the semifinals.
But the biggest test was the final round against Wu, an incoming freshman at UCLA, who looked unflappable earlier in the day when she defeated the No. 1 seed, Katelyn Dambaugh, 3 and 2.
“I’m really good friends with Beth (Wu) and I played a round with her, I think the second day, so I knew how she was hitting it and that she wasn’t going to let up anytime soon,” Tardy. “It was going to be a good match from the get-go and it was.”