Under a beautiful summer sky complemented by a light breeze, Xavier University's Abby Smith took first place at the Marion Miley Invitational at the Lexington Country Club.
Smith, 20, finished as the runner-up in 2012 and was sitting at third place heading into the final day of the two-day event.
Smith, from Frankfort, shot a 77 on Thursday and scored a 75, 3-over par, on Friday, earning a 4-stroke win over three players who tied for second place.
A crowd of spectators clapped and cheered after Smith sank her final putt at the 18th green, sealing her first-place finish.
She was showered with hugs from friends and family members when she finally walked over to the cart path.
"I've been working really hard this summer on my golf game," Smith said. "I'm ready to get back to school and win some tournaments."
The Marion Miley Invitational is the biggest win of her young golf career, she said.
"I feel really honored to win it," Smith said.
Smith played the final day with West Jessamine High School senior Grace Rose, who led after shooting 73 the first day, and Eastern Kentucky University sophomore Becky Sharp.
Rose, Sharp and Pam Dupont tied for second with a 156.
Smith earned her first lead on the 12th hole.
She and Rose were tied for first, while Sharp remained three strokes behind.
Rose's tee shot landed two feet in front of a tree, and after hitting into water, she triple-bogeyed.
Smith had a chance at par but missed on two putts and finished with a double-bogey. Sharp battled through a tough shot from under a line of trees to earn a bogey.
After that, Smith held a one-stroke lead on Rose and a two-stroke lead on Sharp. She didn't let it go.
Rose, 17 and a University of Kentucky commitment, was one of the youngest competitors and finished with an 83. She took first in the Junior Flight.
Sharp, 19, of Williamsburg, finished third in the competition last year and bettered that with a second-place tie on Friday.
"I wanted to win, of course, this year," Sharp said. "But Abby (Smith) played great today, and she deserves it."
Tyler Lashbrook: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @heraldleader