Casie Cathrea lives in Livermore but plays so much golf in Sacramento that she considers the city her "other home."
She's won everything Sacramento has to offer in women's golf competition, beginning with First Tee tournaments, then city and and county championships multiple times each.
But the city's most prestigious title, the California State Fair Women's Amateur, has eluded her, often in ways so painful that the two-hour drive back to the Bay Area seemed like forever.
Cathrea emphatically crossed the State Fair off her tournaments-to-win list Sunday at Bartley Cavanaugh, following her Saturday 7-under-par 65 with a 70 for a six-shot victory.
"I've tried so hard to win this tournament," Cathrea said. "I've come to the 18th hole leading or tied for the lead and duck-hooked it into the water."
Cathrea, 16, a high school senior, first played in the State Fair when she was 10. As her game improved, so did her expectations â" and frustration. She lost by one stroke in 2009, lost in a playoff in 2010 and double-bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 last year to lose by two strokes.
Cathrea was so in control this year that she and her father/caddie, Harry, posed for what amounted to a victory photograph on the 17th green Sunday after a routine par. She then hit the middle of the 18th fairway with her tee shot, the middle of the green with her approach and the middle of the hole with her birdie putt for a stress-free finish.
"Finally," she said with a smile.
Cathrea has played in two LPGA Tour tournaments. She's won the pro/junior title, with Ben Crenshaw, at the Champions Tour First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. She's headed to Illinois later this month as a member of the U.S. Girls Junior Ryder Cup team. She'll attend Oklahoma State on scholarship next year â" her shorts, shoelaces, fingernails and tees Sunday were Cowboy orange.
Karen Garcia, 49, headed home to Cool on Sunday, delighted to say she finished second to, potentially at least, one of women's golf's next big things.
Call The Bee's Steve Pajak, (916) 326-5526.
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