HILL AIR FORCE BASE Sometimes playing good golf is just not good enough.
Even though almost every golfer chasing Daphne Parker at the Utah Women's State Amateur golf tournament at Hubbard Golf Course on Hill Air Force Base played solid golf in Round 2, none gained any ground Tuesday on the defending champion.
Again, riding a smoking-hot putter, Parker posted a 4-under 68 on Tuesday to put her at 8-under after 36 holes and six shots ahead of her nearest competitor. Parker (formerly Daphne Vines) started the day four shots ahead of five golfers and with 18 holes remaining now has only three within 10 shots.
"I've really been working hard on my putting the past three weeks and I guess it's paying off," said Parker, a former BYU golfer who recently transferred to Louisville for her junior and senior seasons.
Playing with three-time champion Lachelle Poffenberger, 2004 champion Nicole Chandler and former BYU teammate Camille Gardner, Parker was intimidating as she rolled in putt after putt. All three threw everything they had at the recent newlywed, but Parker answered every time by draining another long birdie to stay in front.
"I've played with people before who have putted like this and it's like 'what do I do?'" Parker said.
Poffenberger, a school teacher from Fort Union, had to shoot a 2-under 70 on Tuesday just to stay somewhat in striking distance. She'll begin today's final round in second place at 2-under 142, and realistically as the only one who can catch Parker.
"I played real steady," Poffenberger said. "I gave myself some chances for birdies and I made a few putts. For as much as I've played this summer, I'm very happy with how I'm playing."
But even Poffenberger admits that Parker would really have to fall apart to let her second-straight title slip away.
"If (Parker) keeps playing the way she is and making putts like she's doing, there's not much I can do," said Poffenberger, who won in 1989, 1991 and 1998.
Tied for third at 1-over 145 are Gardner and Chandler, who both fired 73s. At 147, in fifth, are Julie McMullin and Kelsey Vines, Parker's younger sister who will be a senior at Desert Hills High in St. George.
Parker turned the front side with a 1-under 35 when she sank a 12-foot par putt on No. 9. She then drained a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and an 18-foot birdie on No. 12 to get to 3-under par on her round. She stumbled a bit on the par-3 13th when she pulled her tee shot long and left, and then left her chip short of the green. Even in bogeying the hole, however, she still made things exciting by lipping out a chip from just off the fringe. But that was her final bogey of the day.
On the short par-3 17th Parker's tee shot came to rest 30 feet past the hole. But calmly, she rolled it in for another birdie. She finished with another birdie on No. 18, even though this time she only had to make a 6-footer to get the job done.
Poffenberger also turned the front at minus-one, but bad drives on No. 10 and No. 11 led to a bogey on each hole. Coming in, however, she made birdies on No. 12, No. 15 and No. 18. Her final birdie was a delicate downhill 20-footer.
Gardner looked like the one who was going to challenge Parker when she made birdies on No. 11 and No. 12 to get to 2-under on the day and the tournament. She had a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 13 for a two-shot swing on Parker, but pulled it left. She then three-putted No. 14 and No. 15, and missed a 3-foot par putt on her final hole.
Chandler hit the ball well all day Tuesday but also couldn't get any putts to drop. Then, on No. 18, she hit her drive in the pines left and eventually three-putted to end her round with a double bogey.
For today's final round Parker will again be paired with Poffenberger, Gardner and Chandler. She says the strong foursome will help her stay focused and playing aggressive."It's awesome playing with people who can give it right back at you," Parker said.
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