Savannah Hallman's amazing golf journey over the past 12 months culminated with a memorable eight-shot victory Saturday in the 2014 Charleston Ladies City Amateur golf championship.
Hallman shot a 4-under-par 68 at Municipal Golf Course and finished the 36-hole tournament at 142, easily outdistancing defending champion Colleen Estes. It was Hallman's first-ever tournament victory. First-round leader Tsurutis, the 2009 winner, and 13-time champion Lea Anne Brown tied for third at 153.
Jeannie Hillock shot 159 and beat Sandy Bland by one shot to win the Senior Championship for golfers 60 and older.
Last summer Hallman carried an 18-handicap; now, the 19-year-old Wando graduate's handicap is 1.1. For the past eight months she has worked with Rickey Sullivan at the Ranch at Bulls Bay and her golf has improved dramatically. She will be playing college golf in the fall for Charleston Southern.
"I worked hard," an excited Hallman said of the turnaround. "I went straight to the golf course after school and practiced until dark."
Hallman made four birdies and an eagle-2 (on 17) against just two bogeys Saturday to easily pass Tsurutis, the first-round leader who was two shots ahead of Hallman. She birdied all four par-5s.
Hallman said she and her father-caddie Treg Hallman met several goals during the tournament. They wanted to shoot in the 140s for the tournament; break even-par, shoot 68 in the final round; and win her first tournament. The 68 broke her previous tournament best by four shots.
"This is a huge accomplishment," Hallman said. "I had a lot of help and encouragement from the people at Snee Farm. This gives me a lot of confidence."
CHAMPIONSHIP: Savannah Hallman, 74-68-142; Colleen Estes, 77-73-150; Victoria Tsurutis, 72-81-153; Lea Anne Brown, 76-77-153; Ansley Vaughan, 75-80-155. FIRST: Elizabeth Thompson, 83-75-158; Devvy Walker, 81-79-160; Denise Sterner, 87-82-169; Shanie Cooper, 91-86-177; Alison Gianakas, 86-93-179; Wanda Torres, 89-93-182; Beth Greenlee, 84-100-184; Amelia Goodwin, 91-97-188. SECOND: Lynn McCain, 93-89-182; Paige Austell, 95-90-185; Robin Richardson, 94-92-186; Michel Smith, 98-89-187; Sheila Spivey, 100-89-189; Mary Gastley, 98-92-190; Kristin Biety, 92-102-194; Suzanne Morgan, 106-105-201; Barb Taylor, 107-110-217.
SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Jeannie Hillock, 78-81-159; Sandy Bland, 79-81-160; Terry Rickson, 81-87-168; Rhonda Hood, 85-85-170; Jan Blum, 85-86-171; Chris Shaible, 85-93-178. SENIOR FIRST: Myrtis Burbage, 90-88-178; Betty Poore, 88-90-178; Jane Assey, 92-87-179; Clara Polutta, 93-89-182; Suzanne Hutchinson, 90-92-182; Linda Williams, 97-90-187; Charlene Atkins, 98-92-190.