Needham’s 1-under-par 71 was good enough to tie for first as the rising senior continued a long string of quality outings in the past two months.
It started with CHS placing second in state at the Class AAA tournament, then Needham went on to reach the quarterfinals of the 15th Annual Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship at Sunset Hills Country Club. And with every strong showing the confidence continued to grow for the young golfer.
“It’s helped a lot. Getting the confidence to really know I can play on that level has gotten me comfortable to play there and keep playing there,” Needham said.
Winning a tournament with just a top five finish necessary continues to build that confidence.
“It was great. It’s always in the back of your mind, it’s just going to be there. You have to get in the top five and there is so much competition there. Everybody that you always play with over the summer, all the big names are there. You know you have to go low to get there, and I guess I did,” Needham said. “Every tournament, really, has it’s pressure, but the whole opportunity at the end of it that’s an enormous amount of pressure. You really want that spot. It’s a great prize. To come in first in that is just amazing.”
Not only did Needham go under-par, but she did so playing the course a little differently than she has in the past.
“It really helps. Shooting 71 by itself is great even if I hadn’t gotten first, but the fact that I did beat all that competition and did come in first it helps me know I am high enough to compete at this level,” Needham said. “It was a huge confidence booster because the course itself was rated a 77 on the handicap scale, so shooting a 71 that’s really 6-under-par and we played it longer than I’m used to playing it. Instead of having short wedges you’ve got long irons. Being able to come out and do that, it’s a great experience.”
Even with the 64th Annual U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif. not taking place until July 16-21 the preparations continue as Needham is off participating in another tournament this weekend.
“We’re definitely playing tournaments pretty much every week. I have a busy schedule this summer. My practice is pretty routine. I’m focusing in on short game. My driver wasn’t so good at the tournament so I’m working on that, but I’m just going to treat it like a tournament,” Needham said.
For Needham it’s just business as usual.