NORMAN — Saturday's championship match of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship wasn't won with booming drives or deadly accurate iron shots.
It was won with 5-foot par putts — and a lot of them.
Fittingly, it was one of those 5-footers that 18-year-old Lauren Diaz-Yi made on the 27th hole of the day to conclude her record-setting championship victory over second-seeded Doris Chen Saturday afternoon at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Diaz-Yi's 10-and-9 win in the 36-hole match was the largest margin of victory in the 37 years of the event.
“I don't think I've ever made that many clutch, inside-5-foot putts that actually mattered in my life,” said Diaz-Yi from Thousand Oaks, Calif., who is set to join the golf team at Virginia in the fall.
The 28th-seeded Diaz-Yi made only two birdies in 27 holes, just one of which helped her win a hole. The other nine holes she won were simply about making pars.
“With these pins today, they were tucked in places you couldn't believe,” Diaz-Yi said. “The greens were superfast. Par was good enough today.
“It was just fairway, green, two-putt par, and get out of there. Don't even think about trying to make birdie, because then you're just trying too hard.”
On the other hand, Chen struggled from the start. After tying for medalist honors in the 36-hole stroke play competition earlier in the week, then plowing through most of her competition in the 64-person match play bracket, Chen ran out of gas Saturday.
“I was very tired,” Chen said. “I think this is the worst day I've had the whole year. I didn't take good care of my body, and when I finally found my game again, I just had the wrong yardage, the wrong club. When I found my concentration and hit a good shot, it was the wrong club.”
The 20-year-old Chen was part of Southern Cal's NCAA team championship last month, and she has qualified for the U.S. Women's Open, which begins Thursday at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
But after Saturday's disappointing round, Chen wasn't ready to think that far ahead.
“I just want to quit golf right now,” she said, before flashing a smile. “I just need to take some time off.”
Diaz-Yi will get the chance to defend her title July 14-19, 2014, at The Home Course in Dupont, Wash. — which will be the last playing of the Women's Public Links championship. Both the men's and women's public links events are being replaced by four-ball championships starting in 2015.