Medalist Lynne Cowan won seven of the first nine holes in her Round-of-64 match against Leigh Klasse to headline 32 winners on Monday in the 60th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Anchorage Golf Course in Alaska.
Cowan is joined by eight USGA champions – a quarter of the remaining players in the draw – in the Round of 32, including three-time defending champion Lara Tennant, 2017 winner Judith Kyrinis and seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port.
Cowan and Klasse played together for the third consecutive day after being grouped during stroke play. Cowan, 59, of Rocklin, Calif., jumped to an early lead with birdies on three of the first six holes. She pushed her advantage to 5 up through seven and cruised to a 3-and-2 victory.
“It was a good match today, she wasn’t giving up,” said Cowan. “It’s still a bit surreal [being medalist]. I’m hoping it is a sign of things to come, that maybe I can move up a notch in terms of that group of elite players.”
Tennant, 55, has been elite in this championship since she became age-eligible in 2017. Her 4-and-2 win over Mary Budke, the 1972 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, was her 19th consecutive match-play victory in the Senior Women’s Amateur, the longest streak since Carol Semple Thompson won 28 in a row between 1999 and 2003.
In 2017, Tennant was the stroke-play medalist at her home club, Waverley C.C., in Portland, Ore., but dropped her Round-of-64 match. She hasn’t lost since.
“Playing in this championship is the highlight of my season every year,” said Tennant, whose 82-year-old father George is caddieing for her this week. “Match play is so much fun and to be here at Anchorage Golf Course and to get the warm hospitality that we’ve received is amazing.”
Kyrinis and Port both won by matching 5-and-3 margins. Kyrinis, 58, of Canada, was buoyed by winning four straight holes (Nos. 5-8) to break open her match against Ran Keane. Port, 60, of St. Louis, was tied through seven holes versus Marianne Towersey, but reeled off five of her next eight holes to advance.
Other winners on Monday included Martha Leach and Sarah Ingram, who will meet in the Round of 32 on Tuesday morning. The two have combined for 104 USGA championship starts and four U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur titles between them.
Two other Women’s Mid-Amateur winners will also meet on Tuesday: Corey Weworski (2004), the No. 6 seed who rallied from a 2-down deficit at the turn to beat Rosie Cook, 2 and 1, and Kathy Hartwiger (2002), who never trailed in a 3-and-2 triumph over Kerry Postillion.
The Round of 32 will begin on Tuesday at 7 a.m. AKDT, followed by the Round of 16 at 1 p.m. Wednesday's quarterfinal matches are scheduled for 8 a.m., with the semifinals to follow at 1 p.m. The 18-hole final on Thursday will begin at 8:30 a.m.
“I may have to go do some sightseeing. I wasn't here in time to do anything before the championship, and with hopefully two matches tomorrow, I won't have time then. I think I'll go over to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center or the zoo. I have to do something touristy while I am here.” – Lynne Cowan on her plans for the rest of Monday after finishing her match at 11 a.m. local time
“I'm trying to be more like Carol [Semple Thompson]. Carol just plays the course. Some people play more aggressively in match play because they are like ‘oh it's just one hole,’ but I go the opposite. Especially here. I'm trying to block out what the other person is doing and just focus on the course. – Brenda Kuehn on wanting to emulate Thompson, the seven-time USGA champion
“I’m staying in an Airbnb with Ricki [Ulrika Migliaccio] and Sarah [Ingram] and it’s almost like a college dorm. The three of us have had a great time. We play board games at night. It’s been fun, and almost like the three of us are a mini college team.” – Kuehn
“It's been great to reconnect with Brenda [Kuehn] throughout the Curtis Cup stuff with Rachel, and now this week. And to get to know Ricki [Migliaccio] who is so much fun, she may be the happiest, jolliest person I know.” – Sarah Ingram
Mike Trostel is the director of championship content for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.