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.