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Friday, June 12, 2015

Hawkes defends CWGA championship crown


KENSINGTON >> Mackenzie Hawkes was a young child when she first met Lynda Foster. Hawkes’ father Mickey was the head golf professional at Madison Country Club.

“She’s like club champion extraordinaire at Madison (CC),” Hawkes said.

Amazingly, in all their years as members at Madison CC, the two had never played a round of golf together — until Friday. Foster stood in Mackenzie Hawkes’ path of winning a second straight Connecticut Women’s Golf Association championship.

And for awhile, Foster held the lead on Hawkes. But the 18-year old Hawkes, bound for Northwestern University, turned the tables, held the lead after the first 18 holes of the match, then went on to dominate the final 7 and 6 at Shuttle Meadow CC.

“I watched her grow up. Everybody has been dying to see us play together and now we have,” Foster said. “She is beautiful to watch, has a pretty swing and is very gracious.”

Hawkes, who attended the Westminster School in Simsbury, said it’s “crazy hard to play a friend. She is an amazing, amazing woman, who is super kind. It was a lot of fun being out there. … I’d rather play someone who is fun to play with who I know.”

Hawkes, who beat Jill Tryon in a sudden-death playoff to win last year after the two were tied following the first 36 holes, won four straight holes in her second round Friday, holes 25 through 28, to move from 2 up to 6 up.

“I think I played OK in the morning round. I didn’t putt well in the afternoon,” Foster said. “The distance really isn’t the problem because I have been playing all week with people who hit it by me. She is a great putter and she has a much better short game than some of the other (golfers) I played.”

After both players halved the 29th hole with par, Foster three-putted for double bogey on the par-4 12th, the 30th overall, to allow Hawkes to collect her second straight title in the tournament’s 96th edition.

“Going into the second round, I wasn’t feeling super, super confident,” Hawkes said. “And then I got in a mode after I made a really good par on the first hole and that kind of set me off to have a really good front nine, which was a big reason why the back nine was so short.”

Foster is a former two-time champion herself of this event, the last coming in 2010 at CC of Farmington. The first came a decade ago at Shuttle Meadow CC.

She built a 3-up lead after just seven holes in the morning 18. But that lead evaporated quickly, as Hawkes won the next three holes.

Consecutive birdies on the 12th and 13th holes put Hawkes up for good. Her lead was 1-up after the morning 18.

“I got here early and hit a bunch of putts, short putts, 4- or 5-foot putts. I think that’s where I won the match,” Hawkes said. “I made about four or five key 5-foot putts that I would’ve missed the past few days.”

Nikki Liucci of Farmington Woods CC won the 18-hole Founder’s Cup final 6 and 5 over Siobhan Stephen from Hop Meadow CC.

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