AUGUSTA, Ga. — Anna Davis will have to wait a year to walk down Magnolia Lane for the first time, but when she does, she’ll already be a champion.
Armed with just a learner’s permit, the 16-year-old from Spring Valley, Calif., threw a shotgun at Augusta National Golf Club on Saturday morning, switched to cruise control in the back, then saw the leader’s hopes of victory crumble. on the last two holes.
By the time all 72 competitors crossed the finish line at this Augusta Women’s National Amateur, it was Davis who won the victory lap.
“I’m still a little shocked,” said Davis, who closed 3-under 69 to take the club lead at 1 under, then glued herself to a nearby monitor to watch the late collapse of Latanna Stone, a bogey-bogey double finish that dropped Stone (72) to tie for second with her LSU teammate Ingrid Lindblad (68), one shot behind Davis.
“I don’t think it’s been processed yet that I’ve won here,” Davis added, “but it’s kind of surreal, to be honest. I literally – I’m speechless. I can’t even understand what just happened. Everything happened very quickly.”
Moments later, Davis was transported to Augusta National’s lavish press center, and her eyes widened as she entered the interview room, which was packed with a few dozen reporters, as well as her family and his friends. It was the first time all week that Davis looked a little intimidated.
After all, for 54 holes, the southpaw Davis had tackled the toughest field in amateur golf and two beasts of a golf course, taking a share of the first-round lead at Champions Retreat, failing to shaking after a 76 second lap and then putting on a nearly flawless performance in the final round around Augusta National.
Augusta National Women’s Amateur Complete Scores
Davis only bogeyed once on Saturday, on the par-4 fourth hole, where she flew over the green 85 yards and failed to rush for par. Later, she rolled in an 8-footer on the par-4 ninth before stuffing a 145-yard 8-iron from 4-footer on the par-3 12th and rolled in the putt. She also birdied two of the par-5s, Nos. 2 and 13, and was unfazed as others around her faltered – the other five players in the last three groups combined to shoot 8 on the back nine.
It was only her first competitive round at the iconic layout, but Davis acted like she’d been here many times before.
“I think showing emotion on the golf course, showing anger, showing sadness, it gives the other player an advantage when they see that,” Davis said, “so I try to keep it to me.”
When she missed a chance to birdie on the closing par-4 hole, Davis figured she’d settle for second place. But then Stone made a mess around the greens at numbers 17 and 18.
“I was more nervous watching it than playing my part there,” Davis said.
While Stone was in tears after signing her scorecard, Davis couldn’t help but smile under her white bob, which did little to hide her long, straight brown hair that hung down nicely. over each shoulder. His support section, which included parents Bill and Beatriz, twin brother Billy and longtime instructor Bill Barrett, wore similar headgear, which they had purchased earlier that morning in the goods building.
Between the ears, however, Davis doesn’t share much with his family, including his parents.
“We’re both probably overly excitable, nervous people who can’t sit down and can’t stay seated,” said Bill Davis, who compared Saturday’s experience to the rest of his daughter’s tournament rounds. – “torture… just at the most beautiful golf club in the world.
“Anna, however,” he added, “she wasn’t born that way.”
Anna has been composed since birth, says her father, an easy baby who has grown into a mature teenager beyond her years. When Billy, a talented golfer in his own right, decided to attend a private boys’ high school, where Bill Davis teaches, Anna opted for online lessons at the local public school so she could spend more time on the golf course. golf.
While the rest of her family leaves for the classroom at 6 a.m. every day, Anna, a sophomore, heads to Steele Canyon Golf Club in Jamul, Calif., where she spends the entire day playing working out, hanging out in the grill room and playing with the adult members. .
“I think I always felt a little older than 16,” Anna said.
It’s only been a year since Anna started going alone or with friends to junior tournaments. Her first solo trip was to the AJGA’s Heather Farr Classic in Mesa, Arizona – and she won, sparking a run that included eight more finishes of fourth or better in junior events, including a convincing stunt of seven strokes at the Girls Junior PGA last July. which earned her an invitation to ANWA.
“She’s a good stable girl who’s very independent, always has been,” Bill Davis said, “but now she’s found her voice.”
And clearly his game.
In the biggest tournament of her life, Anna was not overwhelmed by the moment. She wasn’t worried about not being able to use a rangefinder. She also didn’t employ a local caddy or relative to carry her bag, but rather a family friend, Randy Kirby, for the first time because he had been a caddy for Billy and Billy had recommended him.
The truth is Anna doesn’t need much help – she’s used to doing things on her own and into herself, whether it’s at Augusta National or Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton , Washington, where she won her first notable junior title at age 9.
The only thing Anna was a little scared of on Saturday was checking her phone.
“I don’t want to check,” she said. “It’s going to be so many messages. I do not want to answer.
Eventually, she will. She may be advanced for her age, but she’s still a teenager, always on the phone, texting and talking with friends.
To be fair, though, that’s arguably the only screen time she logs.
Like her father, Anna doesn’t like watching television too much. In fact, she admitted at her winner’s press conference that she had never watched live Masters coverage. The only highlight she could remember when asked was Tiger Woods’ double putt to win in 2019.
When it comes to golf history, Billy is the fanatic; Anna doesn’t care. She focuses on her own game, so much so that she didn’t find out recently that this year’s ANWA was the third edition, nor did she realize the event existed until last year. .
But make no mistake, Anna Davis has big aspirations in this game.
“I want to be the best in the world,” she said.
Her performance on Saturday proves she is on the fast track.