SEBRING – The 64th Harder Hall Women’s Invitational didn’t just go to the wire, it went three holes past regulation, as Emilia Migliaccio held off Lei Ye with a par on the third hole of sudden death to win the prestigious amateur tournament on Saturday.
Migliaccio, from Cary, N. C., and a member of the Wake Forest women’s golf team, held a one-shot lead over Anna Redding, and a two-shot lead over Annabell Fuller to start the fourth round on Saturday after being down a shot to Redding after the second round.
“I was not that nervous,” said Migliaccio “I actually got over my nerves after the first hole when I saved par. I have been in this situation before so I came in with the mindset that I can’t control anybody else, instead I concentrated on doing my best on each shot.”
Migliaccio admitted that the wind that picked up during the final round was a factor and cited that she had to make some adjustments in club use.
“On Hole 9, I had to change clubs to an 8 iron from a 9 to account for the wind,” she said. “You really just have to commit to your target, but it is a lot more challenging.”
Migliaccio finished the fourth round with a 1-under 71 and a four-day total of 289, which was four shots ahead of Redding and Fuller at 293. But her real challenge came from the threesome just ahead of her.
Lei Ye, a high school senior in Bradenton, who has committed to play at Stanford, was sitting in 10th place after the second round, seven shots behind the leader and six shots behind Migliaccio, but the last two holes of that round gave Ye some promise she still had a chance.
“The last month I had a rest period, so I have been working on my swing and this was my first tournament in a while,” Ye said. “The first two rounds, my swing was still a little off, I could not really find that playing field and I was thinking too much about the swing. The last two holes of the second round, I feel I found what I was looking for, which allowed me to just play instead of thinking about the swing. Going into the third round I had that good feeling and was able to keep it through the third and fourth rounds. I was just hitting the ball so much better, which allowed me more birdie chances.”
After the third round, Ye had moved up to fourth place, three shots behind Migliaccio and by the end of the fourth round she caught up to Migliaccio, after carding a 4-under 68 in the final round to force a playoff for the championship.
Both Migliaccio and Ye finished the four-day, 72-hole event with a score of 289.
Starting the playoff from Hole 1, Migliaccio had an opportunity to end the playoff quickly, but pushed a 4-foot putt to the right and both players finished with par to extend the playoff to the second hole.
“I pushed it right,” said Migliaccia. “That was just nerves, I should have taken my time. I was more focused on the outcome than making the putt itself.”
The players tied on the second hole and moved to the third.
On her second shot from 165 yards out, Ye pulled it left and out of bounds while Migliaccio landed hers about 10-feet right of the green.
After her penalty, Ye got close to green on shot 4, while Migliaccio had a slight hiccup on her chip shot that was short of the green on her third shot.
Ye made a double bogey while Migliaccio managed to make a bogey to win the 64th Harder Hall Women’s Invitational.
Migliacco, who won the South Atlantic Amateur last year and enjoyed an outstanding freshman year at Wake Forest, enjoys all aspects of the game.
“It was wonderful to win this tournament,” Migliacco said. “I love golf, I love traveling and playing on all these beautiful courses.”
In the Forever 49 Class, Kathy Glennon of Naples, won with a four-day total of 315, four strokes better than second place finisher Diane Lang of Weston.