Golf: Griggs picks up 9th ACI victory

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By Mike Cote

Chalk up another notable accomplishment for Ev Griggs.

Griggs, the most decorated amateur golfer in Los Alamos, put another big feather in her cap this weekend, taking her ninth career victory at the Atomic City Invitational.

Griggs took three straight contests at the ACI, held at Los Alamos Golf Course last week, to earn her ninth tournament win. That win tied the career victory mark with Anita Clancy.

To clinch the title, however, Griggs had to hold on for a tough final round match play victory over Anna Swertfeger, who just so happens to be Clancy's sister.

The two women were within a hole of each other heading into the 18th and final hole during Saturday's final round contest. With Griggs giving up a stroke to Swertfeger due to a difference in handicap, Griggs was sitting about 35 feet from the hole with a birdie chance.

Griggs' birdie putt looked good heading toward the cup, but broke right with less than a foot to go and just lipped out. The ball rolled about 3 feet away from the cup.

Meanwhile, Swertfeger's 5-footer for par, which would've tied up the match, stopped dead just two inches from the hole.

The pressure was back on Griggs.

"Nobody ever wants to look at a 3-foot putt to win," she said.

However, Griggs dropped the 3-footer to push the hole and preserve the 1-up victory.

Saturday's win was Griggs' first ACI championship since 2006. Griggs won her first ACI title in 1974.

Interestingly, she has won back-to-back ACI titles only once, in 1991-1992. Clancy, meanwhile, holds the record for most consecutive ACI title wins, five in a row (1984-1988).

To win, Griggs had to survive a pair of close contests. Bethany Rich gave Griggs a first round scare Thursday, pushing her to an extra hole before Griggs took a 1-up win.

Griggs never could shake Swertfeger Saturday.

With Griggs holding a 2-hole edge, her tee shot on the par-3 17th hit the green within about 12 feet of the hole but continued bouncing to the very back of the green, leaving her about 60 feet from the cup.

Meanwhile, Swertfeger's deft chip from about 20 yards off the front of the green put her to within 3 feet. She sank a par putt to pull within one hole after Griggs couldn't 2-putt from her considerable distance.

Despite some close calls on her way to the victory, Griggs said it was a big accomplishment to be among the top ACI players of all time.

"I'd just like to be around for a few more attempts at it," she said.