Surprise Surge in First Coast Fernandina's Steffen Wins Tourney

Article excerpt

ST. AUGUSTINE -- Christina Steffen admitted she was a bit tired after her round yesterday.

That may have come as a surprise to her competitors.

Steffen, three strokes behind entering the day, claimed the First Coast Women's Championship yesterday at the Radisson Ponce de Leon Golf Resort and Country Club.

"I found out I had a chance to win on the 18th hole," said the 25-year-old Steffen. "I heard little whispers. I would rather not have known. It made me nervous."

Steffen's final-round 76 gave her a three-round total of 224, edging second-place finisher Suzy Strock, who shot a 78 (226), by two strokes.

A former Fernandina Beach High School standout, Steffen said she played 20 holes at Amelia Island's Long Point Country Club after Thursday's round to practice her long game, something she said benefited her in yesterday's round.

"I felt strong with my driver," Steffen said. "With the length, I knew I would be hitting shots from 60 to 100 yards. I think practicing so much mentally helped me."

The Coastal Carolina graduate was coming off double bogeys on holes 12 and 13, and knew she needed to focus on scoring better. Playing in the second-to-last group, Steffen did not know how the leaders were faring. Strock shot 40 on the front, but the others in the final group were struggling. Mary Ann Petrillo carded a 43 and Kim Balaskiewicz finished the front with a 44. …