ADA – Laura Bavaird (Grosse Ile / Western Michigan University) defeated Shasta Averyhardt (Flint / Jackson State University) in a playoff at the 91st Michigan Women’s Amateur at Egypt Valley Country Club July 14.
Bavaird went 1 up to start the match, but Averyhardt came back and the match was all-square through 9 holes before Averyhardt went 1 up on 10. Averyhardt was 1 up going into 18, but it was Bavaird’s turn to make a comeback and tie the match pushing it into extra holes. Averyhardt missed a short putt on 18 that stuck with her through the playoff hole.
“I think that things may have been different if I did not miss that putt on 18,” said Averyhardt. “But all I kept thinking about on the playoff hole was missing that putt.”
Bavaird sunk a 22-foot putt on the playoff hole to win the tournament.
“I was putting well earlier in the tournament but in my round against Shasta I had not made a putt all day,” said Bavaird. “My dad was my caddy and he told me if I couldn’t put it in just to get it close. When I hit it, I didn’t think it was going to go in. I thought it was going to be short so I was surprised when it dropped in the hole.”
Bavaird and Averyhardt were friendly rivals in high school when Averyhardt was at Grand Blanc High School and Bavaird was at Grosse Ile. They have maintained a friendship through the years and all week had talked about meeting in the final match of the championship.
“We would practice together and we would talk about how much we wanted to meet in the final,” said Bavaird. “I told her ‘You win your match and I’ll win mine’ before each of our matches.”
The two players hugged after the awards presentation and Bavaird was teary-eyed as she spoke of the exciting and intense match with her friend.
“It was bittersweet because as soon as I sunk that putt I knew I had won, but I also knew that Shasta had lost and I just felt so bad,” said Bavaird.
Golf Association of Michigan Executive Director David Graham said the championship match was one of the best he had seen in any tournament.
“The play today was extraordinary,” said Graham. “I have not seen this kind of drama on the best of television.”
In the morning’s semifinal match, Averyhardt defeated Ashley Bauer 1 up; Bavaird topped Michigan State University head women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll 1 up.
Bavaird, who is a member at Grosse Ile Country Club and a senior at WMU, was runner-up in the tournament in 2005. She also finished second in the 2006 Women’s GAM Championship. She was the medalist this year in the College of William and Mary Invitational tournament and was voted the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Miss Golf in 2004.
Averyhardt, who is a member at the Captain’s Club at Woofield, won the 2005 GAM Women’s Championship at Spring Meadows. She is a senior at Jackson State University where she was the golf teams MVP in 2005 and 2007.
“When Laura lost to Mandi McConnell two years ago in the final of this tournament, I told her that her time was coming and she would be a champion one day,” said Graham. “That happened today and I know that Shasta’s day will also come.”