MISSOULA — Laurel’s Morgan O’Neil doesn’t have to go to Disneyland this week. She was recently satisfied in her happy place.
“This is one of my favorite places on earth,” O’Neil said Saturday at Missoula Country Club. “I love this golf course so much.”
She loves it even more following Saturday’s round when she walked off the 18th green as Montana’s 2018 Women’s State Am champion.
O’Neil put herself in position with a brilliant 1-under-par 70 finish in Friday’s second round. But that actually added to the pressure of a final-round lead.
“I tried to ignore it as much as I could,” she smiled afterward. “I knew, though. I started off really rough.”
After four bogeys in her first four holes, O’Neil’s lead was gone. But she survived knowing what so many golfers do.
“I’ve played in a lot of golf tournaments and know what can happen, and I know the first few holes mean nothing,” O’Neil recalled. “I just knew how mean golf can be to everyone, and I knew it was anybody’s game, so I just tried to stay patient.”
But there’s a fine line between patient and conservative – something O’Neil wasn’t throughout the entire tournament. Even down to the final hole after she left herself a long way back with trouble in front of the green.
“I didn’t want to wimp out and lay-up,” she said, thinking, “I’ll just play the way I did the entire tournament.”
As Roy McAvoy always said in the 1996 romantic comedy Tin Cup, “We didn’t come here for second.”