BURBANK — Emily Tubert has the undisputed truth, but she still can’t believe it.
Taking part in the prestigious U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship on the 6,092-yard, par-71 Warren Golf Club at Notre Dame, against a talented field, the recent Burroughs High graduate surprised even herself.
In the championship match Saturday, Tubert defeated Lisa McCloskey of Houston, 3 and 2, to secure the tournament title.
“I look at the picture where I’m holding the championship trophy, but I still can’t believe it,” said Tubert, who just turned 18 last month and was playing in her first national-championship event. “Going into the tournament, my goal was just to make it to match play. I never expected to even make it to the championship. I don’t know how I got that far. It’s amazing.”
The amazing thing was the way Tubert played against the 18-year-old McCloskey. After a shaky start, Tubert turned around her fortunes and took control in the 32-hole match.
After falling behind by two early on, Tubert embarked on a torrid stretch that put some distance between her and McClosky. Along with a birdie on the No. 6 hole, she made four straight birdies from the No. 9 to No. 12 holes. That helped her amass a five-stroke lead.
“Early on I really felt the pressure,” said Tubert, who has only been playing the game for five years. “But I started to settle down, I hit the ball better and I started putting a lot better. My putts were going in from everywhere.
“But once I chipped in on 6, I started gaining confidence. You know how players talk about being in the zone? I think that’s what I was during in that part of my game. It all just kind of clicked.
Tubert said once she was able to gain a sizable lead, her confidence was at an all-time high.
After leading by six at one point, McClosky was only able to whittle the advantage to three.
Tubert said one of the most rewarding aspects of winning the championship was having her father, Marcelo, with her every step of the way. Marcelo served as Emily’s caddy, and his presence was appreciated by the two-time Pacific League champion.
“It was such a great experience for both of us,” Emily said. “He didn’t give me any advice and he didn’t read any greens or anything like that. He was just there for me to talk to and to be there for me. He was by my side, every hole, every shot. It was such an awesome experience being able to share that with him.”
She also said she has had an outpouring of support from family and friends, who had tracked her progress.
“When I walked off the course after winning and I had 44 text messages,” she said. “And they haven’t stopped.”
Tubert qualified for the final by playing well throughout the week in preliminary and match-play rounds. She was one of 156 golfers, and took part in 11 rounds of golf through seven days.
Capturing the biggest tournament of her life, Tubert is still in awe of her accomplishment.
“This is a national championship,” she said. “Players dream of winning a U.S. amateur national championship, and I was able to accomplish that. It still doesn’t feel real. I still can’t believe it.”
Tubert, who won a CIF Southern Section championship last fall at Burroughs, will continue to take part in tournaments throughout the summer prior to reporting to the University of Arkansas to begin her freshman season.