KUNA The first two days of the IGA Womens Amateur at Falcon Crest Golf Club were about shotmaking.
The third day was about poise. Thats where 22-year-old Maddie Sheils experience paid off.
Sheils, who just completed one of the best college careers in Nebraska womens golf history, shot a 2-over 74 on a difficult, windy day to win her second state title by five shots.
Sheils trailed by four shots after the first round and one shot after the second round but was never challenged in the final round. She played with two accomplished high school players who struggled.
Sheils also won in 2009.
Its hard in junior golf, especially in Idaho where theres not as many players, to get experience playing with good players in a big event, Sheils said. I felt excited out there. Its a fun atmosphere to be in, regardless, but since Ive been there before and having played with so many great players, I just felt comfortable, which is something that takes years of experience.
Cali Hipp of Caldwell, the 2008 champ, shot 76 to finish second. Gabby Barker of Vallivue High and Kareen Markle of Meridian tied for third, six shots back. Barker, 15, was the leader with a pair of 74s in the first two rounds. She stumbled to a 7-over start through five holes in the final round on her way to an 81.
I was pretty nervous out there and it just lasted for about five holes, she said. What I learned is to not get nervous on the last day. I guess just holding my ground for the last day.
Markle, playing a group ahead of the leaders, moved within two shots with an outstanding front nine but couldnt apply pressure to Sheils down the stretch. Hipp also was in contention at the turn.
Sheils didnt provide much of an opening. She birdied the par-4 15th hole to pull away and hit a nice approach shot to about 10 feet on the devilish 18th to seal the win.
I tried. The putts werent falling, Hipp, who plays at Oregon, said of pursuing Sheils. I knew I was kind of getting into the zone on the front nine, and then I kind of lost a wheel for a bit.
Sheils was rock solid the last two days. She opened with a 76, which put her in fifth place.
She fired the low round of the day Thursday, a 73, and the second-best round Friday.
My putting wasnt excellent, but I put the ball in position that I could score, Sheils said. I was pretty consistent. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and I didnt make any big mistakes.
The victory came in her last scheduled amateur event in her home state. She recently started madeleinesheils.com so supporters in Idaho and Nebraska can track her quest to reach the LPGA Tour.