Day 2: Swanson, 14, is repeat champ Jun 13, 2005  (14 years ago)

 
By Randy King, The Roanoke Times
Jun 13, 2005, 10:18

Meredith Swanson took home her second straight Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame women's title Sunday. From the looks of things, the 14-year-old girl wonder may run off a bunch more in a row before she checks out of town.

"I'd say Meredith is going to win five in a row, maybe more, as long as she sticks around," said Dot Bolling, who has won five HOF titles, including a record four straight from 1996-99.

Never blinking twice in a field of players who easily averaged three times her age, Swanson shot a final-round 4-over-par 75 at Ole Monterey to whip runner-up Bolling by three shots and Meg Davies and Teresa Shull, who tied for third place at four strokes back.

Although this one wasn't nearly as exciting as last year's three-hole playoff victory over Bolling, Swanson was all smiles afterward.

"Really, to me, this one is about the same," said Swanson, a rising ninth-grader at Hidden Valley High School. "It was a little more comfortable than last year. When this started, I didn't want to pressure myself into winning. But I came out here today and I was like, 'I'm going to win this!' I was really confident."

Swanson, who entered the final round one shot behind 1994 winner Sara Cole, played Nos.5-12 in 1-under par to take command. Bolling gave the youngster some help when she suffered consecutive bogeys at Nos.15 and 16. Davies (78) and Cole (82) never mustered a run.

"I look at this as just a payoff for all my hard work every day," said Swanson, who posted a winning 36-hole total of 8-over 151.

Davies, 22, who recently completed her golf career at James Madison, played with Swanson for the first time. She was impressed.

"She's a great player," Davies said. "How did I compare with her at 14? Mmm ... that was a long time ago. ... I don't even remember where I was eight years ago. Shoot, I don't compare with her now.

"I don't think she's lacking anything. She's a very good putter and she definitely has length for a 14-year-old. She gets it out there, and that's definitely what you need in college."

Cole, who wound up six shots back in fifth, said of Swanson: "If she keeps playing well and keeps playing in this every year, she's going to be tough to contend with."

Paced by Swanson and Bolling, Roanoke Country Club breezed to its first women's team title since 1988. Countryside, which has won the crown a record 12 times, finished a distant 24 shots behind RCC.

Reprinted with permission from The Roanoke Times.

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