Amanda Vankoski was both excited and nervous when she learned that she was going to play-off against 4 other golfers, including fellow ALL-SAC Luers golfer Alex Eagleson. Amanda was playing for the final 3rd place qualifying spot at Cobblestone Regional on September 25th. Only one girl out of those 5 would advance to Regional from the IHSAA Norwell Sectional at Timber Ridge in Bluffton.
Bishop Luers’ solid team score of 391 earned them 6th place out of the 11 teams, but missed being one of the top 3 advancing teams, that included the winning team Homestead, followed by Norwell and Canterbury.
Amanda was both lucky and very blessed to even compete at Sectional. Four days earlier, while coming home from Luers’ golf team practice, she was hit by a driver who ran a red light on U. S. 24, at the Homestead Road intersection. She escaped with only minor injuries but alot of soreness. Amanda couldn’t even participate in a full practice until the day before Sectional!
You sure couldn’t tell it on Saturday. She fired a fine 94 with a late birdie, and had nothing worse than a 7 on her card all day. But 4 others also carded a 94. The IHSAA has decided to no longer take “ties.” So, the sudden death playoff took place on the par 4 Hole #1. Amanda crushed a 5-wood down the middle of the narrow fairway, leaving her with only a wedge. Only 1 of the other 4 golfers hit the green in regulation — and she (Zoe Brehm) left herself a gigantic 45-foot putt that ended in a 3-putt. Amanda, a beautiful ball striker with a smooth compact Fred Couples-like swing, hit a beautiful approach shot to about 18 feet away. Then after Eagleson rimmed the cup for par from 25 feet, Vankoski faced an uphill 18-footer that could give her the win, IF she could 2-putt.
The pressure was on. All her teammates and about 50 other fans were following the playoff! Amanda remained calm and stayed in her rhythm. She hit a great lag putt that rolled up to about 2 feet. She confidently knocked the biggest short putt of her life into the dead center of the cup. Amazing, considering her Tuesday afternoon accident.
Amanda was immediately rushed by teammates, fans and well-wishers.
Vankoski becomes the 1st Luers regional qualifier in 3 years. She will compete at Cobblestone on Saturday, September 25, 2010.
As for Eagleson, she still ended her fine Bishop Luers golfing career on a very high note. A week earlier, she shot 84 to take home the 3rd place medal in the SAC Conference Tournament at McMillen Park!