Mallory Crosland wasted no time reaching the final of the 83rd annual Maryland State Golf Association women's amateur championship, while Christy Larrimore needed all 18 holes to close out her semifinal match at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda.
Crosland, a 26-year-old from Chevy Chase Club, and Larrimore, a 19-year-old rising junior at Georgetown, meet in today's championship. Larrimore is playing in her first final; Crosland is going for her fourth title, having won it in 1997, '98 and 2001.
"I'm excited to play Mallory," Larrimore said. "I know she's a good player. I played with her once before three years ago."
Larrimore defeated Corrie Tayman, 2 and 1, in yesterday's quarterfinals and then defeated Lesley Stracks, 2 up, in the semifinals. Crosland defeated five-time champion Jane Fitzgerald, 2 and 1, in the quarterfinals, then defeated two-time winner Andrea Kraus, 5 and 4, in the semifinals.
Crosland took command of her semifinal match early. She won two of the first three holes and was 4 up at the turn. She won No. 10 to go up five then lost her only hole of the match on No. 12.
On that hole, Crosland played it safe while Kraus took a huge risk. Kraus's tee shot landed in a grove of trees in front of the large pond that guards the green. She knocked the ball out of the trees and onto the green, 10 feet from the pin. She made her birdie putt, and Crosland three-putted for bogey. Crosland closed out the match on No. 14, winning with a par.
Although she has lots of experience in this tournament, Crosland said her schedule as a sports producer for Channel 4 makes it more difficult for her to be successful.
"It's just so hard to be competitive these days when you're sitting behind a desk for so many hours," she said. "The nerves definitely start to rattle more than they used to when I was in college. These college girls, they've got it made. They play every day."
Larrimore felt considerable pressure going into her match against Stracks. In the past two tournaments she played, she won her first two matches only to lose in the third round.
"It was kind of like, 'Can I get to the finals?' It was kind of like not another third-match loss," she said. "It was kind of mentally challenging there."
Neither golfer led by more than one hole throughout the match.
"We were both playing really, really good," Stracks said. "There was no room for either of us [to make a mistake]. Then I made those two bogeys on 16 and 17."
Strack's bogey on 16 tied the match then she fell behind on the next hole. Larrimore had the honor and hit first on No. 18. Her tee shot on the par 3 landed four feet above the pin.
Strack's ball ended up on the grassy slope above the bunker. She chipped onto the green, 15 feet from the pin. She made her putt to save par, but it was not enough. Larrimore sank her putt to win the match.