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Simanton tops Prince in Oregon Amateur final

The LO grad wins her second Oregon Am, fending off an impressive showing from her former high school teammate


Amy Beth Simanton stands with her trophy after winning her second Oregon Amateur

A pair of local golfers shined at the annual Oregon Amateur held last week at Tualatin Country Club. The tournament, which features both stroke play and match play, ultimately came down to a 36-hole showdown between former Lake Oswego standout Amy Beth Simanton and Lakeridge star Kendall Prince.

Ulimately, Simanton saved her best outing for last with a brilliant putting display to defeat Prince 8 and 7 to claim her second Oregon Amateur.

Simanton, who recently completed her junior year at UC Davis where she narrowly missed qualifying for nationals as an individual, also won the event in 2009 shortly after graduating high school.

Simanton and Prince played together at Lake Oswego before Prince transferred to Lakeridge.

In stroke play, Prince, who will transfer from Ohio St. to Arizona in the fall, got off to a quick start in the tournament.

She shot rounds of 74 and 73 which had her seeded in second heading into match play. Simanton, meanwhile, tried to adapt to the course and fired rounds of 76 and 75 to finish in a tie for fourth.

"I had a different mindset this year. I just wanted to improve from the past two years where I didn't advance past the first round. I just wanted to try and get a feel for the course during stroke play," Simanton said.

But, in match play, Simanton quickly found her groove. Both she and Prince cruised in the opening round, winning their respective matches 6 and 5.

"In stroke play I was in the trees on every hole and had to scramble. I'd never played this course before. It's short and really tight with small greens and none of those things suit my game very well," Simanton said.

In the second round, Simanton defeated another Lakeridge graduate in Taylor Babcock 4 and 3.

Prince's second-round match went down to the wire. She led by four holes at one point but then gave up that advantage in a stretch of five holes on the back nine.

Prince fell behind after the 17th hole but a bogey on 18 was good enough to force extra holes. She then parred the 19th hole and her opponent bogeyed to allow Prince to advance to the quarters.

Simanton had her toughest test of match play in the quarters.

She and Lindsay Aho battled back and forth with Simanton never giving Aho the lead. Aho tied the match on the 16th hole but Simanton parred the 18th and Aho bogeyed to help Simanton move on to the semis.

Prince topped Canby's Aaren Ziegler 3 and 2 in the quarters.

In the semifinals, Prince was extremely consistent and played perhaps her best round of the tournament. She jumped out to a two-hold lead after the front nine and then played the back nine at one-under par and withstood a birdie by her opponent on the 15th hole to win 1-up.

That set up the exciting showdown in the finals between two former teammates.

"She was definitely someone I was looking forward to playing. She's improved so much and has been one of the best junior golfers in the country," Simanton said of Prince.

Simanton birdied the first hole and then chipped in on the third hole to take a two-hole lead. She knew at that point that the day might go her way.

"I'd never chipped in like that before and after that I just started draining putts from all over the place and made a lot of birdies," Simanton said.

Simanton had seven birdies in her first 18 holes. Prince did her best to keep pace, winning three holes with birdies of her own but still trailed by six with 18 holes to play.

Simanton would extend her lead to nine holes at one point but Prince continued to battle, winning three holes in a five-hole stretch.

However, Simanton's birdie on the 29th hole was enough to clinch an 8 and 7 victory.

It was another big victory for Simanton who looks forward to the Oregon Amateur each year.

"It's always a tough tournament because it starts just after school wraps up but it's one I always mark on my calendar," Simanton said.

For Prince, the tournament was an impressive showing as she has battled health issues, including a burst appendix which caused her to miss much of the season at Ohio St. this year.




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