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Colleyville's Emily Collins wins WTGA State Amateur

on 01 August 2012.

MCKINNEY—The championship match of the Women’s Texas Golf Association’s State Amateur tournament at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club was a refreshing encounter between two young and talented college golfers. Although Emily Collins of Colleyville prevailed over Taylor Newlin of Plano, 3 and 2, it was difficult to determine who had won during the presentation ceremony.

Collins got off to a quick start and built an early lead. Both advanced to the finals with relative ease. Collins never played the last two holes of the Stonebridge Dye Course with a 3-and-2 win over Rachel Smith of Mansfield in the semifinals, her closest match. Newlin was the medalist in qualifying with a 6-under-par 66 and roared into the finals with an impressive 5-and-4 win over 2010 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion and recent Texas Golf Hall of Fame selection Mina Hardin of Fort Worth.

After building her early lead, Collins, who qualified with a 70 earlier in the week, never lost control of the match—even after Newlin battled back to pull within one hole of squaring the match. When Collins went to 5 up with five to play, Newlin responded by winning the next two holes before being closed out on the 16th.

It was steady play by Collins that kept Newlin from ever pulling even in the match.“I played well all week and today was another good day,” Collins said. “I was able to drive the ball well and that left me with short irons into the greens and I putted well throughout the week.”

It was a continuation of good play for Collins, who will be a junior this fall at the University of Oklahoma. A few days before the state amateur, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In 2011, Collins qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open and played in the event at the Broadmoor in Colorado.

Collins attributes her better play to an improved mental approach to golf. It is a mindset that she recommends for other young golfers.

“One day I realized I didn’t have to try and make birdies,” Collins said. “I needed to make pars so I set three goals for myself: no three putts, no penalty strokes and no dumb mistakes. Focusing on those three goals really helped my game become more consistent. And I would add for the younger players to have fun playing golf and stay positive.”

Newlin plays her college golf at the University of Texas at San Antonio and won a college tournament, the Islander Classic in Corpus Christi, last year. Her sizzling 66 in the qualifying round was nothing new for her as she once shot a 62 at Twin Creeks in Allen during a high school tournament.

As for the future, both players hope to win more tournaments but Collins hinted at another goal. A communications major at OU, Collins said she might like to one day go into broadcasting. Given her golf game and winsome personality, she may that opportunity in the future.