Tom Smart, Deseret News
Daphne Vines Parker holds her trophy after winning the Women's Utah State Amateur tournament on the third hole of sudden death.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Less than two months into her marriage and Daphne Parker is already giving her husband ulcers.

But she's also giving him more reason to celebrate.

Through text messages from Parker's mom Wednesday afternoon from Hubbard Golf Course, husband Matt in Kentucky — where the couple will live and attend school next year — slowly read how his wife's six-shot lead at the Utah Women's State Amateur Golf Tournament was disappearing.

With three holes remaining, the lead was down to three shots over three-time champion Lachelle Poffenberger. With two holes left, it was two. On the 18th tee, it was one. Then Matt got the message that made him fit to be tied — his wife had just made bogey on the final hole and was heading into a sudden-death playoff with Poffenberger.

What couldn't be felt in Kentucky was how Parker finally settled down with her putter to sink a 5-foot par putt on the first extra hole to extend the playoff another hole. Eventually he read how his wife survived an admitted nervous round of golf on the third extra hole when Poffenberger three-putted from 20 feet. Finally, he got to talk to his new bride on the phone.

"He told me that he was more nervous the past three hours than he was on our wedding day," Parker said shortly after winning her second straight Women's State Amateur. "I think he's into this even more than I am."

The Women's State Amateur is 54 holes of medal play and does not have a match-play final like the men's championship. But on Wednesday, it seemed more like match play between Poffenberger and Parker. No one else really challenged the duo, who finished tied at 3-under par 213. Kelsey Vines, Parker's younger sister, finished alone in third seven shots back. Tied for fourth, at 224, were Nicole Chandler, Camille Gardner, Karen Killpack and Julie McMullin.

When Poffenberger, who began the day at 2-under par — six shots behind Parker's 36-hole score of 8-under — made the turn at 1-under for the day, while Parker struggled to a 3-over par 39, the battle was on. Suddenly, Parker's insurmountable lead was down to three shots.

"I just couldn't focus at all," Parker said. "But I have to hand it to her. She played a great game. She played amazing. She just fought hard and never backed down."

When Poffenberger rolled in 20-foot birdie putts on No. 13 and No. 14 to close within two, it was clear that Parker was feeling the heat.

"I thought if I kept applying the pressure that maybe I'd have a chance, and I think that got her thinking, too, when I made those back-to-back birdies," Poffenberger said.

But it appeared to be game over when Parker chipped to within two feet on the par-5 15th hole to make birdie and regain a three-shot lead with three to go.

"I never dreamed she'd three-putt the last three holes ... but she let me back in it," Poffenberger said.

First Parker three-putted on No. 16 from about eight feet. Then she three-putted on No. 17 from about 45 feet. Only needing to two-putt from off the back fringe on No. 18 to win, Parker pounded her first putt about 15 feet past and missed the one coming back to force a playoff.

"I didn't hit a good putt. I wasn't trying to make it. I just didn't hit it well," Parker said.

After both made par on the first two playoff holes and Parker had two-putted for par on the third hole, Poffenberger was staring down a 20-footer on the par-3 17th to win. Her birdie try lipped out on the right side. She then lipped out the 5-footer coming back downhill.

"Somebody had to make a mistake for it to end, but I was hoping to make a birdie to end it that way," said Poffenberger, who learned this week that a fourth championship is not out of reach for the full-time school teacher.

Parker, who transferred from BYU to play her final two seasons at Louisville while her husband attends dental school, is undecided if she'll travel back next year to go for a three-peat.

"It's kind of surreal," Parker said. "Because I really didn't have my best game today."


E-mail: jimr@desnews.com