Six U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Champions Win Monday at Stonewall

By Julia Pine, USGA

| Sep 11, 2023 | Elverson, Pa.

Six U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Champions Win Monday at Stonewall

WHAT HAPPENED

There’s a certain change in the air when a USGA competition moves from stroke play to match play. Sure, the facility empties a bit, moving from 132 players with their caddies and entourages to just 64 competitors and those they have with them. But even at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, where competition is met with equal parts camaraderie, the tension thickens. It all becomes more important, more within reach.

Monday at Stonewall was no different. In a match that felt too soon for Match Play Day 1, past champions Shannon Johnson and Julia Potter-Bobb faced off in the Round of 64 at the 36th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. It was just one of several marquee matchups that highlighted Monday’s action.

“We are very familiar with each other’s games,” said Johnson after the match. “We were paired together in stroke play, and obviously faced each other in the final [in 2016]. I knew it was going to be a tough match, and she was playing some good golf in stroke play.”

Johnson, who is looking to have a strong showing this week after having to miss last year’s championship due to illness, got off to a fast start, taking a 3-up lead on Potter-Bobb through three holes. The 2018 champion who resides in North Easton, Mass., would card four birdies through her first nine holes, extending her lead to 4 with just eight holes to play after taking No. 10 with a par.

But Potter-Bobb showed what makes her a two-time champion, digging in and winning three out of five holes starting on the 11th to cut the deficit to just 1 with three holes to play. But that would be as close as she would get, and Johnson would win the 17th hole with a par to secure the 2 and 1 win.

“I found a little groove yesterday,” said Johnson, who shot rounds of 82-71 in stroke play. “Some things started to click, and I got out to a good start on the front side today and was executing good shots. Then I made a few silly mistakes to start the back [nine]. I was able to win [hole] 10, but the wheels started to fall off a little bit. I was just able to hold on because I had the big lead.”

Johnson was joined in the winner’s circle by another past champion, 57-year-old Sarah Lebrun Ingram, who won the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in 1991, 1993 and 1994. Ingram, who advanced out of an 8-for-3 playoff earlier in the morning, defeated co-medalist Courtney Dow, 25, of Frisco, Texas. Ingram, who captained the USA Curtis Cup Team in 2021 and 2022, jumped out to a quick 2 up lead through two holes before Dow evened the match through four. Ingram would take the lead two more times before keeping it for good at the turn, eventually defeating Dow 3 and 2.  

“[Courtney] helped me out a little bit, but I played well,” said Ingram, who is playing in the Mid-Am for the first time in over 20 years. “My game’s coming around. I’ve been working on it since mid-July, went through a swing change and really tried to buckle down since missing qualifying for the Senior Women’s Open. I had to do something. I had to get a little more serious about this, so I’ve been working hard on my swing. My ball-striking is better. My driving is better.”

Other champions to advance to the Round of 32 include four-time winner Meghan Stasi, 2021 champion Blakesly Brock, 2015 champion Lauren Greenlief and 2017 champion Kelsey Chugg. Play was suspended due to darkness at 7:20 p.m. ET with five matches still on the course.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Round of 64 will resume at 7 a.m. ET with five matches still in action. The Round of 32 will begin as scheduled at 7:30 a.m., with the Round of 16 to follow.  

NOTABLE

  • Round 2 of stroke play resumed Monday morning after being suspended due to darkness Sunday evening. Round 2 was delayed two hours because of weather on Sunday morning. 

  • There was an 8-for-3 playoff Monday morning to determine the final spots in match play. Three-time champion Sarah Lebrun Ingram, Tara Joy-Connelly and Katrin Wolfe advanced from the playoff, which included a 70-foot two-putt from Joy-Connelly on the second playoff hole to save par and claim a spot. Ingram and Wolfe won their matches, while Joy-Connelly was defeated. 

  • Courtney Dow and Jessica Spicer became just the fifth and sixth medalists/co-medalists to lose in the Round of 64. It was the second time in the last three years that the No. 1 seed was defeated in the first round of match play (Courtney Dow, 2023; Jennifer Peng, 2021).  

  • Jacqueline Setas, head coach of the girls' golf team at The Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tenn., had six three-putts in the first round and shot a 77. When she was on the putting green before her second round, she was watching Brenda Kuehn make putts with a claw grip and half-jokingly asked Brenda to teach her that. After about ten minutes of practicing with the new grip, Setas brought it to the course and shot a 71. She used it again today to the tune of a 1 up Round of 64 victory over Helene Malvy. 

  • Eleven countries are represented in the match-play bracket, including 52 players from the USA, three from Canada, and one each from Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Mexico, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Vietnam. The average age of the 64 who made match play is 34.9.

  • Ten of the 27 matches in the Round of 64 that concluded on Monday went to the 18th hole or beyond, with three of them going to extra holes.

QUOTABLE

“I’m getting more familiar with the greens. My caddie Rick has been great. We’re dialing our lines and speeds in a little bit more. Having a new person on the bag can be tough, just getting to know each other, so it’s been paying off.” - Shannon Johnson on her caddie relationship this week

“It’s been a great day. This is what’s fun about golf, having a good day like today. I didn’t play very well yesterday, so to come out here and finish strong today, and get through the playoff this morning, which I don’t remember the last time I was in a playoff. It was a really fun day.” - Sarah Lebrun Ingram on Monday’s action

“It’s awesome to have these kinds of events in your home state, especially in your hometown. This doesn’t happen too often. I’m only about 35 minutes away and I’m staying in my own house. So many family and friends have come out here, a lot of friends from the Philly Cricket Club have been here, so it’s cool.” - Isabella Dilisio on playing so close to her home in Hatfield, Pa.

“I think the rain delay was good for me. It gave me an hour to reset and get all my frustration out and just think about putting a good swing on the next shot when we came out there. I had 220 [yards] to the hole on 18. It was wet, but I took out the 3-wood. I decided to go for it and probably hit one of the best shots I’ve ever hit in my entire life. I hit the 3-wood to about four feet and it was conceded.” - Dilisio on closing out her Round of 64 victory with an eagle on the 18th hole

“It’s a lot of fun to play with another [USGA] champion. It’s a small community, and I didn’t know Kathy before, but she’s awesome and we had a great time. You just know that an opponent like that knows how to play match play, so they’re going to make key putts or key up-and-downs, so it keeps you on your toes.” - 2015 champion Lauren Greenlief on facing 2002 champion Kathy Hartwiger in the Round of 64