One of Sarah LeBrun Ingram’s goals coming into the 61st Senior Women’s Amateur was to reach the quarterfinals. Doing so would mean an automatic exemption, rather than having to go through qualifying, into the 2024 championship at Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle, Wash.
She accomplished that goal in record-breaking fashion on Tuesday at Troon Country Club.
It took LeBrun Ingram, of Nashville, Tenn., just 24 holes to win two matches, setting a new championship record for fewest holes played on the second day of match play (previously held by Ellen Port, who took 26 holes in 2012). She defeated Tara Joy-Connelly 8 and 6 in the morning, followed by a 7 and 6 win over Jackie Foster of England in the afternoon.
“It was a very good day,” said the 57-year-old, who had no inkling of just how well she would play. “Not really. I’ve just been trying to play the best golf I can play. But I’m trying not to think anything, just trying to stay present, hit balls, take it one shot at a time, and keep doing the same routine.”
LeBrun Ingram, who won three U.S. Mid-Amateur championships in the early 1990s before being sidelined from the game for more than 20 years with rheumatoid arthritis, got a boost in confidence after advancing to the Round of 32 at this year’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
“I feel like after the summer, and really trying to be more focused on my physical strength and working on my swing, to do well at the Mid-Am where I didn’t have high expectations helped with confidence,” she said. “To know that I could hang with those girls definitely helps with confidence, for sure.”
LeBrun Ingram will next face Linda Jeffrey, 50, of Prattville, Ala., who defeated Kathy Hartwiger, of Pinehurst, N.C., 2 and 1. Jeffrey, making her first appearance in the championship, defeated Kathy Glennon, of Naples, Fla., 7 and 6, in the morning.
Martha Leach left Troon Country Club Monday night in search of a Powerball ticket and the grand prize of more than $1 billion. She got the ticket, but didn’t win, settling instead for some impressive numbers on her scorecard. Leach took down Pamela Kuong, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., 5 and 3, and Stacy Dennis, of Dallas, Texas, 2 and 1 to reach the quarterfinals.
“Hopefully, I can continue hitting it like I have been,” Leach said. “I’d like to roll it a little bit better putting, but tomorrow’s another day, and I hope that I can sneak in there.”
She will face Brenda Corrie Kuehn of Asheville, N.C., who knocked off three-time Senior Women’s Amateur champion Lara Tennant, 4 and 3.
Kuehn, whose day started with a win over Ginny Burkey, of Eugene, Ore., in 21 holes, came into the championship with low expectations.
“You know, to be honest with you, I just want to go out there and hit the ball well,” she said. “That’s all I’m looking for. Just hit good swings, hit the ball well, get comfortable out there and see what happens. That’s my goal. Let’s see if I can hit the ball how I hit it at home.”
Nadene Gole of Australia made a strong statement with wins over three former Women’s Amateur champions. She defeated three-time winner Ellen Port, 4 and 3, and then took down Judith Kyrinis, of Canada, in 19 holes. Gole, who won the Tasmanian Senior Women’s Amateur and the New Zealand Senior Women’s Amateur this past February, is the sole remaining International player in the field. On Monday, she ousted 2011 champion Terri Frohnmayer.
Marilyn Hardy, of Magnolia, Texas, at age 62, is the oldest player still in the championship. She defeated Sylvie Van Molle, of Belgium, in 19 holes to reach the quarterfinals.
“It’s a marathon. It was an ebb and flow kind of thing,” she said. “I hit the ball well, I hit a lot of greens, missed a few putts, and just kept grinding. That’s all. It’s all about grinding.”
The quarterfinals will begin at 7:30 a.m. (MST) on Wednesday morning, followed immediately by the semifinals at approximately 1:30 p.m. (MST). Admission is free and spectators are encouraged to attend.
“Well, that’s good to know.” – Sarah LeBrun Ingram after being informed that the only hole she has lost so far in match play was her very first one in the Round of 64.
“Fine. I’m not going to go practice. I’m probably going to go eat an early dinner and then go to bed early.” – Martha Leach on how she feels after playing 32 holes today.
“Just trying to keep hitting good shots. It’s one shot at a time, blah, blah, blah. Hitting solid shots and maybe luck would turn my way… and it did.” Marilyn Hardy on her playing strategy today.
“Rest. I’m going to hit some balls, and then I’m going to rest. I’m tired, I’m really tired. Seven rounds in six days? Let me tell you something, seven rounds is more rounds than I’ve played in the last three months.” Brenda Corrie Kuehn on her post-round plans.
Tom Mackin is an Arizona-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.