Noblesville’s Emily Podzielinski and Haley Kluth used their home course knowledge of the Harbour Trees Golf Club layout to finish first and second in the 2013 IWGA Women’s Amateur Championship.
"I’ve spent a lot of hours on that (practice) putting green”, stated Podzielinski to the crowd of participants and Harbour Trees members who gathered for the awards presentation. "Winning on this course is really special.”
Podzielinski entered the final round with a one shot lead over Kluth after posting a second round, tournament low, 69. While her nearest competitors were finding the going difficult, Podzielinski fired a front nine even par 35 to extend her lead to 5 shots entering the back nine.
She then bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes and the lead was just three. After another bogey on 14, she seemed to have things firmly in control after a birdie 4 on the 439 yard par 5, 17th. That gave her a three shot lead with just the 138 yard par 3, 18th to play.
Her tee shot found a piece of Morse Reservoir that guards the green and after a drop and two putt she posted a double bogey, 5, which was still good for the one shot victory over Kluth who fired a two under par 34 on the back nine to solidify her runner up finish.
"I didn’t know where I stood on 18,” said Podzielinski. "I’ve hit that shot a hundred times. I guess the wind just kicked up.”
Kluth admitted that she, also did not know where the two stood down the stretch. "I don’t keep track of my score normally”, said Kluth. " I actually thought Emily was five shots ahead of me. I had no idea I was that close to her, which was probably a good thing.”
Podzielinski, who will be a red-shirt senior for the Arkansas Razorbacks Women’s Golf Team this coming Fall said winning on her home course was "huge”. "I really prepared for this tournament”, she said. "I didn’t take it lightly. It’s easier said than done to get a victory. We live on the sixth hole and my Dad caddied for me for the first time in this event.”
Podzielinski said her Dad, Eric, "pretty much let me do my thing.”
The final round pairing with Kluth might have also made the final day a little more comfortable for Podzielinski. "I’ve played a lot of golf with Haley”, said Podzielinski. "She will make an awesome college player.”
Kluth agreed that it was like a round with friends, as opposed to the final pairing in the Indiana Amateur Championship. "Emily is like a mentor to me,” said Kluth. "She has taught me a lot about the game. It was very humbling to be able to play with her in that setting. It was fun to see her play so well. I’m really proud of her.”
Kluth, who will be a senior at Noblesville High School this year opened the Championship with a 1-under par 70 before firing 73-75 over the final two days.