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Galloway regrets one extra shot in '12

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A year ago, Dominique Galloway came within a whisker of becoming the youngest champion in the history of the Albuquerque City Women’s Amateur Golf Championship.

And although she came up short, she was so young – 14 – that she has yet another chance to make history when the 70th annual version of the event begins today at Santa Ana Golf Club.

“Someone told me Rosie Jones was 16 when she won it,” Galloway said, “and I want to be the youngest to win it.”

There are 104 players in the tournament in nine flights. There is an 8 a.m. shotgun start all three days at Santa Ana.

Last summer at Santa Ana, Galloway left her 18-foot birdie attempt just right of the cup on the par-5 18th hole last year and finished second in the 54-hole event by one shot to Kelcey Tate.

Tate isn’t playing this year, making Galloway – who won the state 5A girls high school championship last spring as a freshman at Cleveland High – the probable favorite. But the 19-player championship flight looks to be very competitive.

Former champion Glynnis Price and Vanessa Spradlin – who both had at least a share of the lead at one point during last year’s final round – are back in the field. So are Paige Darwin, Vicky Chavez, Arrianna Estrada, Belen’s Taylar Jaramillo and Memoree LeCompte – all top-10 finishers last year.

Another contender is recent Rio Rancho High grad Sierra Campbell, who finished third last month’s Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament in Wichita Falls, Texas. Campbell will attend Midwestern State (in Wichita Falls) in the fall.

“I think its going to be really competitive bunch,” says Darwin, a 2011 La Cueva graduate who will be a junior at New Mexico State in the fall. “And it’s always a really good tournament and always a lot of fun.”

Darwin is hoping to be the second former Bear and current Aggie to win an Albuquerque city golf title this week. Her friend Patrick Beyhan won the Men’s City Amateur on Sunday.

“I was just talking to Pat (on Monday),” Darwin says. “That would be pretty awesome for both of us to win, that’s for sure. But I just really want to play good.”

Darwin’s younger sister, Alex, is also in the field.

They will both likely be chasing Galloway, who has been making local news for her standout junior golf career for the past four years. Galloway says playing against more experienced competitors can only help her game.

“I really like playing with the older women and girls,” she says. “It makes me work harder to beat them. … They all know how to carry themselves and how to react on the course. They know the game, they know everything about their game.”

Besides chasing Jones’ record this week, Galloway says she has extra more motivation from what happened last year. On the first two days, she reached the 18th green in two shots, and she eagled the hole in the second round. But on the final day, with a little wind in her face and a lake protecting the green on the left, she figured her best chance for birdie was to lay up on her second shot.

“I knew I was down by one on that par 5, and losing like that has been haunting me since,” she said. “I lost by just one shot over three days and 54 holes. It makes me want to win even more.”

Galloway is already receiving numerous letters from colleges, even though she is only heading into her sophomore year. And she’s already got a few schools in mind.

“I’m looking more towards the Southwest,” she says. “The East is too cold and humid. I’m thinking about TCU, Arizona State and San Diego State right now.”

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