This item was filed from esteemed colleague Andrew Blair of the Virginia State Golf Association:
For Carol Robertson of Virginia Beach, Va., it’s never felt so good to be nervous.
Battling some early nerves, Robertson began her first match in an amateur golf championship since 2006 by dropping the first two holes to first-round opponent Samantha Bartron of Boulder, Colo., on Monday.
The fifth low qualifier for match play, Robertson answered to return the encounter to all-square with a birdie at the par-5 fourth hole. She never trailed the rest of the way en route to scoring a 4-and-3 victory. Settling into the duel as it progressed, Robertson opened up an all-square match by winning four of five holes from Nos. 6-10. Robertson was reinstated as an amateur on Sept. 5, and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in sectional qualifying two days later. The former Futures Tour player admitted she is re-acclimating herself to competitive golf.
“Nerves got me a little on the first couple of holes. It’s been a year since my last [championship] besides the qualifier, and you forget how ‘alive’ you feel with something on the line,” said Robertson, the 2006 Virginia State Golf Association Women’s Amateur champion. “I settled down and laughed about it, because it is funny. This happens. It’s golf. I settled down and started playing great.”
Robertson credited newfound caddie Zac Potter, a former Wichita State University golfer, with helping to ease the transition. Robertson carried her own bag during stroke-play qualifying on Saturday and Sunday, but Potter’s player missed match play and the two complemented each other in negotiating the course’s subtleties and in handling the nerves that accompany match play.
“He really helped me stay positive and can really read the greens,” Robertson said. “He’s played here and is real familiar with the course. It was awesome having him on the bag.”
Robertson shot 74-76 in stroke-play qualifying and said she felt reinvigorated about playing the game again, especially on the national stage after spending two-plus years on the Futures Tour from 2007-09.
“I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve ever played in my life. I’m playing better now than I ever did on the Futures Tour,” Robertson said. “My heart is really in it out here. I do – I have high expectations. I feel like I’m the only person that can get in my way. I hope I can take it one match at a time, sneak in some birdies and minimize mistakes. There are some really good players here.”
Robertson will face Alexandra Casi of East Palestine, Ohio, in Tuesday’s round of 32 in a match set to begin at 11:09 a.m. CDT.