Chattanooga, Tenn. – In the end, the advantage was really Robyn Puckett’s.
The 64-year-old Australian who calls Irvine, Calif., home now is a member at The Honors Course and used her course knowledge to knock off Anne Carr, 67, of Renton, Wash., 4 and 3, in the first round of match play on Monday.
Puckett, a runner-up in 2007, didn’t deny that her ability to identify with the course helped her.
“I’m very comfortable here,” said Puckett. “I know where all the trouble is, too. I’ve been in every bad spot imaginable.”
Puckett came out blazing, winning two of the first three holes after Carr chunked a couple of iron shots that led to back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes. Once the two completed the seventh hole, Puckett had forged a 5-up margin.
Carr, the runner-up in 2001 to Carol Semple Thompson, simply couldn’t avoid bogeys. She had five through the first seven holes, which amounted to five lost holes.
“I didn’t putt well,” said Carr. “I was over-reading the greens.”
With such a substantial lead early, Puckett only needed to avoid the various trappings around the course. Her ball-striking was solid as she never seemed to get herself in any danger.
Carr won the 140-yard par-3 eighth hole with a par to cut the deficit to 4 up. On No. 11, Carr missed a golden opportunity to win another hole when she pushed a 6-foot birdie putt wide of the hole. Both players ended up two-putting.
Puckett seemingly put the final daggers in Carr on the 488-yard par-5 11th hole. After Carr couldn’t convert a 24-foot birdie putt, Puckett had a tap-in 2 ½-foot birdie putt. Puckett had knocked her approach shot stiff.
On No. 12, Carr made a 7-foot birdie putt that gained a hole back. The two scored halves on the next three holes. When Carr missed a must-make 8-foot putt for par, and a win, on No. 15, she picked up her ball and conceded the match.
“Excellent match,” Carr could be overheard telling Puckett.
Afterward, Carr didn’t stumble for reasons why she lost.
“You know, I don’t mind losing, but I love to win,” she said. “That’s part of the game. She was better than me.”
Puckett shot the equivalent of even par with all of the match-play concessions.
“She put a lot of pressure on me,” said Puckett. “It’s a relief it’s over.”