SANTA ANA PUEBLO – Sure she’s talented, but Dominique Galloway is no Rosie Jones.
A couple of decades from now, and who knows?
On Thursday, there were plenty of comparisons between the two. Galloway, a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Cleveland High, erased Jones’ name from the Albuquerque Women’s City Amateur Golf Championship record books as the youngest winner.
“It means a lot to me, because she’s a really, really, really great player,” Galloway said after closing with a 5-under 67 to win the 54-hole event by 12 shots at 5-under 211. “She won 13 times on the LPGA Tour – I just don’t know what to say.”
Jones, who won the event in 1976 as a 16-year-old, did.
“Congrats Dominique!,” Jones, 53, said in a text message to the Journal . “A victory in high fashion as well as record-breaking. Good luck at State!”
Jones also won the New Mexico State Women’s Amateur in 1979 and went on to become an AIAW All-American at Ohio State. She then won 13 LPGA Tour titles between 1987-2003 and finished runner-up in four majors. In 2011, she was captain of the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team.
Any similar goals, Dominique?
“I just want to go college and get a full-ride scholarship and get any degree I want to,” she said with a smile. “After that, I might choose to go pro. But if not, that’s all right, I guess.”
At times Thursday, Galloway looked like a pro.
She entered the final round of the 70th annual event with a five-shot lead over 2010 La Cueva graduate Paige Darwin. Galloway opened with rounds of 71-73 in the 54-hole tournament at Santa Ana Golf Club. Darwin opened 76-73 and nobody else was close.
Darwin made bogey on her first hole Thursday to fall six back, but made three birdies in the next five holes to get to 3-over for the tournament. Yet after nine holes, she hadn’t picked up a shot on Galloway. Both players had 2-under 34s on the front side (Tamaya course).
“I was just thinking ‘match play’ against Paige, but she really was playing well and I thought, ‘Dang, she’s gonna’ catch me,’ ” Galloway said. “I was just trying to stay ahead until she ran out of holes.”
That soon happened. Galloway made a birdie on No. 10, while Darwin bogeyed, and the lead was seven. Darwin fell to eight back but picked up two shots when she made birdie on the par-4 13th, while Galloway three-putted for her only bogey of the day.
It got no closer. Galloway closed it in style, making birdies at 15, 17 and 18.
She reached the green on the final two holes – both par 5s – in two shots.
“I had the wind behind me, so I figured why not go for it,” she said.
Darwin, who closed with a 74 to finish 7-over , said: “I’m happy for Dominique. I played really well. I’d love it if I play this way in college this year. But she just played great. There wasn’t anything else I could do.”
Taylar Jaramillo was third at 13-over and former champion Glynnis Price was fourth at 18-over.
Galloway, who plays today in Denver in hopes of qualifying for next month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur in South Carolina, said she was excited to win Thursday.
She was also relieved.
“I was kind of stressed; I get stressed easy. Now it’s just like, ahhh,” she said, taking a deep breath. “OK, now I can just go focus on the tournament I’m playing in Denver.”
Galloway’s 13-year-old sister, Jacquelyn, chose to bypass the tournament to play a regional qualifier Monday and Tuesday in El Paso. She followed Dominique around the course Wednesday and Thursday – and was champing at the bit for her shot in the event down the road.
When asked when she will be able to beat her older sister, Jacquelyn – who has a 7 handicap – said: “Soon. Real soon.”
“She already beats me,” Dominique said. “Not from the same tee boxes yet, but she will play from them soon.”
ACE: Sarah Greene, who will be a senior at Bosque School in the fall, had a hole-in-one on the 127-yard 14th (Cheena) on Thursday. She used an 8-iron, with dad Jerry watching. Jerry said he missed acing the hole by inches last week.