Thursday, July 15, 2004

Eberle wins very unique match

Northern Kentucky Women's Amateur golf

By Colleen Kane
Enquirer staff writer

Lori Eberle won her match against Mary Jo Meek in the Northern Kentucky Women's Amateur on a freak play Wednesday afternoon at Eagle Creek. It kept the seven-time champ alive in a quest for her third consecutive title.

Eberle will join Diana Camacho, Alicia Lawrence and Michelle Bellish in the 18-hole championship round of stroke play today. All four won their matches as the higher seed Wednesday.

After top seed Eberle lost an early lead, she and Meek were tied entering the par-3 final hole. On her second shot, Meek chipped just short of the green and was preparing to hit her third shot when the ball rolled back to her club. She moved her club, and the ball moved a few inches more, Eberle said.

"She hit the ball quick anyway and turned around and looked at me, and I was looking at her right in the eye, and she just said, 'Congratulations.' She gave me the match right there," Eberle said. "It was very freaky. I give her credit for being honest and calling it on herself, because she really played solid today.

"I've never won anything like that, but a win's a win."

Meek took the penalty, and Eberle won 1-up. Wednesday was Eberle's first day of competition after receiving a free pass through the two qualifying rounds because she is the defending champion.

"Other years, I've had so much desire and burning pride to want to win, and I don't know, this year I need to get a little bit more of that. Hopefully I'll get some of that back tomorrow," Eberle said. "Hopefully, it will all come together tomorrow. I just need to believe in myself again."

Camacho, playing her first Amateur since winning titles in 2000 and 2001, also had a close match. She defeated three-time champion Laura Schild 1-up on No. 19.

"I can probably say with 100 percent certainty that was the hardest match I've ever had in this tournament, even the matches I got beat in," Camacho said. "She knows how to score. We both played good on the front, and we both also played bad on the back. And when you both play bad, you're just giving each other holes back and forth."

The two former champions face two first-time finalists and possible teammates at Northern Kentucky University next year in Lawrence and Bellish.

Bellish had the biggest win of the championship flight defeating Ashley Combs 5 and 4. In her first Amateur, Lawrence beat Nicky Weber 2 and 1.

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