Cat Peters and Julie Murphy showed up dressed for a showdown Friday in the final round of the Women’s Buffalo District Golf Association championship.
The co-leaders after each shot 1-under 70 in the first round Thursday at Springville Country Club, Peters was decked out in the maize and blue of Michigan, where she’s a rising sophomore on the women’s team. Murphy wore a white hat with the Spartans logo of Michigan State, the alma mater of her husband, Michael.
“We had a little rivalry going there,” Peters said with a laugh.
It was one-sided by the end of the day, as Peters fired a stellar 5-under 66 in breezy conditions to win going away. Runner-up Murphy faded with a 77, and during the back nine was rooting on the 19-year-old.
“When we got to the homestretch, I was cheering her on,” Murphy said. “I wanted her to finish strong. It was just exciting to be a part of it. To see her go 5 under for the round was pretty cool.”
Peters got things started with a birdie on the par-4 fifth hole, then gained ground on the par-5 seventh. Peters reached it in two, then two-putted for a birdie, while Murphy misjudged her third shot from 80 yards out and found a hazard on the left side of the green. She made a double bogey for a three-shot swing.
“That was a big swing there,” Murphy said. “Her drives were just dead on today. She hit every green. She never really got into any trouble. I joked with her: ‘It was like an easy 66.’ Everything was on. She didn’t really have one slip-up.”
Peters made another birdie on the short par-3 eighth hole, when she hit a pitching wedge to 5 feet. She also birdied the par-3 12th hole, when she hit an 8-iron to 3 feet.
“I was striking the ball very well and the hole seemed to be the size of a garbage can when I was putting,” she said. “I’m very happy with it.”
Peters’ only dropped shot came on the 13th hole, when she missed a short par putt, but she made up for that by finishing in style on the par-5 18th hole. After being greenside in two shots, her chip found the bottom of the cup for an eagle.
Peters’ round of 66 set the women’s course record at Springville. In fact, the round of 70 she and Murphy shot the day before was also a course record.
“I held it for less than 24 hours,” Murphy said with a laugh.
Peters said she had been playing poorly the last couple of weeks, but adjusted her alignment slightly during a practice round earlier this week. The results showed right away. Despite standing just 5-foot-4, she consistently averages about 240 yards off the tee.
“I was right down the middle today,” she said, “and I was putting really well. I was making those 5- to 10-footers. I didn’t worry about blowing it by on birdie putts, because I knew I was going to make them coming back.”
Peters has spent the summer mostly on the practice range. The BDGA was just her second tournament; she played the first Women’s Porter Cup in June. She heads back to Michigan on Aug. 30 for her sophomore season.
As a freshman, Peters played in eight tournaments and made six starts for the Wolverines. The Clarence High School graduate won the girls state championship in 2012.
Murphy was coming off a second-place finish in the state women’s mid-amateur, and is the current women’s points leader in the Buffalo District Golf Association. This is about the time her game rounds into shape, as her duties as the softball coach at Williamsville South keep her from getting a start on the golf season until June.
“I’m just now finding the groove,” she said. “When you get that confidence, it makes a big difference.”
Peters and Murphy are members at Brookfield, where they are expected to compete for the club championship. Being paired together again will be fine by them.
“I always enjoy playing with her,” Peters said.
“We’ve actually never played where it hasn’t been competitive,” Murphy said. “I make it friendly enough, I think, and she’s real friendly with me, too, so it’s pretty laid-back. Going into today tied, we were just joking around and stuff.”
Kathy Hunt shot rounds of 77 and 82 to claim the senior title.