Since the match-play portion of the 75th annual Women's District of Columbia Golf Association Amateur Championship began Tuesday morning, Leland Beckel has been nearly perfect.
But in yesterday's championship match against Jessica Lewis, the way she played her one imperfect hole gave her the momentum to capture her second WDCGA title, 6 and 5, at Columbia Country Club, the home course of both finalists.
Beckel was 1 up when she stood over a 15-foot bogey putt on the fifth hole, in danger of losing her first hole in four matches and 37 holes of play. Without hesitation, she drained the slightly right-to-left breaking putt to halve the hole, then won the next three and five of the last eight holes for the victory.
"That was a big putt psychologically," said Beckel, who did not have to play past the 14th hole in any match this week. "It backed up my confidence in my putting and when I feel confident in my putter, I feel like I can make everything."
From No. 5 on, she did. She one-putted five of the last eight holes on her way to a six-par, three-birdie finish.
"My goal in match play is to be as machine-like as possible," said Beckel, 33, who will play in her fourth U.S. Women's Amateur Championship next week. "That way the opponent never gets a feel of whether you're pleased with your play or not."
Lewis, 18, started the round with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 1 and pars on Nos. 2 and 3 to remain all square with Beckel. But a triple-bogey 6 on No. 4 and Beckel's bogey save on 5 got her going in the wrong direction. She bogeyed Nos. 4 through 6 and could not recover.
"I felt, for myself, that I didn't give her as much competition as I wanted to," Lewis said. "I just could not get the ball to the hole today. . . . Hopefully we'll get together and start playing in noncompetitive situations and playing with her today will help me in the long run."