University of Richmond sophomore wins VSGA stroke play title at Two Rivers

kholtzman@vagazette.com

Rising University of Richmond sophomore Elsa Diaz overcame the sloping greens of Two Rivers Country Club Thursday to win the Virginia State Golf Association Virginia Women’s Stroke Play Championship.

Diaz, 19, shot a 5-over 221 to best second-place Amanda Hollandsworth by a stroke. The San Antonio native sank a 10-foot par putt to seal the win.

Three-time tournament champion Lauren Greenlief of Reston was the only player to shoot below par on Thursday with a 71.

Diaz called the tricky greens “eye opening” and a great test for the competitors’ short games.

“The course was in great condition,” Diaz said. “It’s a very open course. It gives us as players a lot of confidence to get up and try to hit it. You feel like you’re going to shoot low, but once you get on those greens, they’re extremely fast. They break every little inch on that green.”

After bogeying holes 4-7, Diaz rallied to sink a birdie putt on 14 Thursday before making par on each of her last four holes to finish 2-over 74 in the third and final round.

Two Rivers hosted the stroke play championship for the first time. The tournament featured a field of 87 while the Senior Stroke Play event featured 56.

“I think it went great,” said Chris Warring, the club’s head professional.”I think the golf course played very well. It was a little warm, but the conditions were great.”

Diaz bunked with the Warrings during the tourney. Elsa and Chris’s daughter, Marin Warring, worked together at the Independence Golf Club in Midlothian and Warring plays for Bridgewater College.

“I think me being able to win had a lot to do with me being comfortable at that house,” said Diaz. “They just took me into their house and they were a great family to be around. That helped a lot.”

Diaz entered Thursday tied at 3-over with Abby Portyrata, a North Chesterfield product who coincidently plays her college golf in Diaz’ hometown for the University of Texas at San Antonio.

One shot back heading into Round 3 was Hollandsworth, who in 2013 became the first signing for Virginia Tech’s fledgling program, which begins its inaugural season this fall.

Diaz earned All-Patriot Conference honors last Month as her freshman season as a Spider concluded.

Vienna’s Mary Cabriele, 52, shot a 6-over 78 for a 36-hole count of 153 to win the Senior Stroke Play title. She edged second-place Boodie McGurn of Richmond and Portsmouth’s Cindy Morris by a shot.

Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-345-2352.

 

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