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One cool customer; Murphy tames wind, nerves to win BDGA

Julie Murphy parred the second playoff hole and defeated Kim Kaul to win the Buffalo District Golf Association Women's Individual Championship at Springville Country Club on Tuesday.

Murphy, Kaul and Natalie Wisniewski of Williamsville were tied at 156 after the second round, bringing on the sudden death playoff.

"I was nervous for every shot, but I tried to calm myself before I stood over it every time," Murphy said.

Wisniewski was eliminated after double-bogeying the first playoff hole, which Kaul and Murphy bogeyed.

"I hoped to get on the center of the greens and two-putt, but nerves came over my putt when I got there," Murphy said.

It was the first BDGA Individual title for Murphy, a member at Brookfield.

Murphy came into the final round three strokes in back of Kaul, the 2009 BDGA Women's Player of the Year from Gowanda CC.

Kaul and 12-year-old Chelsea Dantonio were tied for the lead after each shot 76 in Monday's first round. Kaul shot a second-round 80, which allowed Murphy and Wisniewski to come back into contention.

Murphy shot a second-round 77. Wisniewski, a sophomore at Bradley University, had a 76.

On top of nerves, Murphy had to battle the cool weather and wind out on the course.

"Every hole, it was tough to figure out. I stood over No. 1 on my approach shot for a while thinking should I go deeper in the wind, but it kept changing," Murphy said.

A financial planner, Murphy is a married mother of two. Even when her family isn't able to join her on the course, she has a special ritual to bring them with her.

"I write all their names on the ball so it gives me good swing thoughts when I go over my ball," Murphy said.

Dantonio, who just completed the seventh grade at Lancaster Middle School and is the Section VI girls champion, soared to an 85 in Tuesday's round for a 161 total. She finished five strokes in back of Murphy, Kaul and Wisniewski in fourth place.

"I started doing tournaments last year, and was hitting balls when I was 9," Dantonio said.

Dantonio estimates she played in 15 tournaments last year, and around 10 so far this year with a few more to go.

"This is one of the biggest I've played," Dantonio said.

Despite being much younger than many of the other competitors, Dantonio wasn't bothered by playing more experienced golfers. Her opening-round 76 was her personal best, and she enjoyed playing in the tournament.

"It was challenging with the wind, but it's a fair course overall," Dantonio said.

Dantonio became interested in golf after playing with her dad. They are members at Fox Valley Country Club.

Last week, Dantonio was able to see many of the world's best golfers play at the LPGA Championship in Pittsford. Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis are two of her favorites.

"It was a fun experience," Dantonio said.

e-mail: abremer@buffnews.com

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