Lynne Cowan is a golf lifer. She has been a mainstay in USGA championships for nearly 40 years and is practically royalty in Northern California circuits, having won dozens of titles in the state. On Sunday she added one more accolade – medalist honors in the 60th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur – bringing her one step closer to the prize she covets most: a USGA championship title.
The 59-year-old from Rocklin, Calif., shot a 1-over-par 73 in Round 2 to earn the No. 1 seed in match play. Her 147 total was two strokes better than 2021 semifinalist Shelly Stouffer, whose second-round 68 tied for third lowest in championship history. Three-time defending champion Lara Tennant, Sherry Wright and Kay Daniel were another shot back at 150.
Cowan used her length to her advantage at the 5,684-yard Anchorage Golf Course. The 2019 quarterfinalist led the field with seven birdies through 36 holes – five of them on par 5s. And she feels right at home on the narrow layout in Alaska’s largest city.
“I'm used to playing courses with a lot of trees,” said Cowan. “I live near Tahoe, so the tree-lined fairways here seem normal to me.”
Stouffer wasn’t just the only player to break par during stroke play, her 68 was five strokes better than any of the 263 other rounds played. It also set the competitive course record at Anchorage Golf Course.
The 52-year-old Canadian birdied four of her first seven holes – a polar opposite start to Saturday, when she was 4 over par through four holes. She played even par the rest of the way on Sunday, offsetting a bogey at No. 12 with a birdie at the par-4 15th.
“Everything was really working well today,” said Stouffer. “I was hitting the ball off the tee really well. I putted well; I don't think I had one 3-putt today. I had 37 putts yesterday, not sure about today, but a lot less.”
Tennant, who is eyeing her fourth consecutive title, headlined the trio at 6 over after a 76 in Round 2. Wright shot a second consecutive 75 on Sunday capped by eight consecutive pars. She birdied the par-3 eighth and par-5 ninth in both rounds. Daniel, an 11-time Louisiana Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, birdied the 18th, the hardest hole during stroke play, to join them at 150.
A 3-for-1 playoff to determine the final spot in match play was won by Leigh Klasse of Cumberland, Wis., with a par on the first playoff hole (No. 10) to oust Ulrika Belline and Shelly White, who bogeyed. Klasse will take on Cowan, with whom she was grouped during stroke play, in the Round of 64.
Other notable players to advance to match play include 2017 champion Judith Kyrinis (153), seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port (154) and USA Curtis Cup Team Captain Sarah Ingram (158). Four-time U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Carol Semple Thompson (168) failed to qualify.
The first Round-of-64 match will begin at 8 a.m. AKDT, with matches going off hole No. 1 every 10 minutes until 1:10 p.m.
“My son keeps me calm. I've been leaving him a lot this year and I needed a caddie. So I just said we’re going to Alaska, you’re going to come and it’s going to be cool. He drew a birdie on a golf ball this morning that was in my cart all day, and that was my inspiration.” – Shelly Stouffer on her 15-year-old son, Brett
“It's a good test of golf. The more you play it, the more you respect the course and come to appreciate the challenges. There are some holes where local knowledge of where to put the ball on the green, with this mountain effect [is crucial]. I have a better understanding of that now.” – Ellen Port
“My short game has been great this week. My iron play is a little sketchy, but I've been able to make up for it with my putting and getting up and down.” – Lynne Cowan
“Match play is more relaxing for me. Is that what you get from everybody? I love match play. Because these two first rounds stress me out.” – Corey Weworski
“I could hear my heart beating in my ears, so I was pretty nervous.” – Leigh Klasse on the 4-foot par putt she made to advance to match play from a 3-for-1 playoff
Mike Trostel is the director of championship content for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.