SANTA ANA PUEBLO – The Queen is gone! Long live the … well, who knows?
And while that Queen of the Links is gone for now, chances are back she’ll be back. Thus, whomever takes Dominique Galloway’s place as this year’s winner of the Albuquerque City Women’s Amateur Golf Championship could be hard-pressed to repeat in 2015.
“Next year, I hope to play in it again,” said Galloway, who last year became the youngest City Women’s champion at 15. “It’s disappointing, but it really would have been too hard to do it all.”
Galloway could have fit the event into her calender – barely – but it would have made for a brutal July for the defending champ and two-time state high school winner. The rising junior at Rio Rancho’s Cleveland High has back-to-back-to-back national events during the next three weeks.
“My goal is to win, that’s for sure,” said top contender Taylar Jaramillo. “I wish Dominique was playing, but she’s not.”
Which could create an intriguing field in the 54-hole event, which is at Santa Ana Golf Club. The second round of the 71st-annual tournament is Wednesday and the final round is Thursday.
Dominique and her family spent Sunday following family friend Sean Carlon during the final round of the Men’s City Amateur Championship at Los Altos. Galloway said he was excited about Carlon’s finish – he closed with a 66 to place fourth and was the event’s low junior – but she’s champing at the bit to get back on the links.
“She’s pretty bummed about not playing in city,” said father John, who was also at Los Altos on Sunday. “Originally, we had her scheduled for an event in Denver this week, but cancelled that, too, because it would have been too much. We have to fly to Seattle on Thursday night (for the national U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship), and Dominique really wanted to try and still play in city and make the fight. But that would have been, basically, a month straight of playing every day.”
She also plays events in Flagstaff, Ariz., and Bryan, Texas this month.
With Galloway – and her young sister, Jacquelyn, who also qualified for the national Publinx – out of the field, the title looks up for grabs.
Glynnis Price is the only former winner in today’s championship flight, having grabbed the title in 2009 and 2011. But it’s the “Slender Slammer” – the 20-year-old Jaramillo – who looks like the one to beat.
The 5-foot-3, 105-pound Jaramillo was a two-time state high school champion at Belen and is a rising junior at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. She won a college tournament in April and says she feels like this could be her year at Women’s City.
“It’s actually going to be a little strange, because the past few years it’s been a reunion for a lot of us who played against each other in high school and went away to college; Vanessa Spradlin, Paige Darwin, Arrianna Estrada. We all got to see each other at the tournament, but I guess they aren’t playing this year. I don’t really know any of the other girls in it.”
While Paige Darwin isn’t in the field, her younger sister, Alex Darwin, is.
Alex, a rising senior at La Cueva, gave Galloway all she could handle at the Class 5A state high school tournament in May, finishing just two shots back in second place.
Sarah Green, a recent graduate at Bosque School, should also be in the hunt. She finished second and two shots back in the Class 1-3A state prep tournament in May.
Others in the 12-player championship flight are Emilee Rowe (10th) and Sarah Rippberger (tied for 11th), who were in the recent Class 5A state high school tournament, and Alexis Nelson, who tied for third in the 4A division of state. Also in the flight are Shannelle Tafoya, Annette Sieben, Vicki Garcia Ryoko Terada and Susan Daniels.
There are a total of 87 players in seven flights.
“There’s a little pressure being a favorite, but I think I’m ready for it,” said Jaramillo, who says she is playing in the event for the fourth time. “I’ve come close before, and I feel I’m ready to win.”
Play stats at 8 a.m. each day and is a shotgun, meaning all players tee off at the same time on different holes.
One of the biggest accomplishments of the tournament in recent years, is raising money for charity. It will do so again this year.
“It has been our pleasure to be affiliated with the Anita Salas Memorial Fund for 12 years,” says tournament director Kathy Morrow. “During that time, the AWGC has donated approximately $120,000 to the fund. They have been a wonderful partner, providing volunteers year-in and year-out for our event. We look forward to presenting them with another check this year, helping them provide assistance to women in New Mexico who suffer from breast or cervical cancer.”