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WESTON, Massachusetts – With one championship title secured for the season and earning medalist honors after the first two rounds of stroke play, it was obvious that Angela Garvin was the one to beat in match play at the 116th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. Very rarely did she let her foot off the peddle as she propelled herself through a difficult bracket of talented golfers from across the Bay State. Garvin finished her week of competition with a 4&3 victory over Anne Walsh (The Country Club) on Thursday afternoon at Weston Golf Club.
This is just the fourth time that a Junior Girl’s Amateur Champion has won the Women’s Amateur Championship in the same year. The first occasion coming in 1954 with Joanne Goodwin, followed by Loren Milhench in 1985 and most recently in 2005 when Chelsea Curtis had the honors.
Angela Garvin has had a dream final home stretch in this summers Mass Golf Championship summer schedule. Winning the 2019 Girls Junior just over one week ago and using that as a springboard towards a victory in the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. Garvin won stroke play medalist through the first two rounds of competition, as she was the only player to be combined under par for the stroke play qualifier. Her steady play has given her the confidence needed going into her Freshman year at the University of Maryland.
“I don’t think I can really ask for any better way to end off the season before starting school, ” said Garvin. “It’s just helped my confidence. I think I’ve proved to myself how I can play how I think I should be able to play and I just hope that I can carry this momentum into the fall at Maryland.”
Usually a razor sharp iron player, Garvin had to rely on her putter today, as she had some longer looks at birdie and par today.
“My long putting was really good today,” said Garvin. “I think my irons weren’t as good today as they were, so I had more lag putts. My speed was really good. I was able to limit the mistakes and put a little bit more pressure on Anne(Walsh) to have to make the birdies which obviously makes it a little bit more difficult.”
Garvin found herself in a similar situation as two years prior, leading the Championship match by multiple strokes. This year though would be different, as she wanted to make sure she held on to the lead to clinch her first Championship.Although it hurt at the time, Garvin used it as a positive learning experience.
“I learned that you have to stay focused,” said Garvin. “Even when you get a lead, you can’t sit back. It was definitely really tough to lose that day. But I think I learned from that and I used that today because I did have a lead on the front. It helped me to stay focused. Even just two years ago, losing that tournament gave me so much more motivation to come back and you know, maybe win it. So when I found out I was in the finals today just I wasn’t thinking about it, but I was thinking about all I learned.”
Anne Walsh had a great week herself. Upsetting Megan Buck and Hannah Ghelfi in match play on Wednesday. Defeating Rebecca Skoler on 18 in her morning match had her in terrific position going into the championship.
“Yeah, this morning’s match was really fun,” said Walsh. “I played well on the front nine and then Rebecca (Skoler) made some great putts, she birdied 17. Then on 18 to have that shot coming in. I think I just kind of pretended I was at the range just put a good swing on it. Then I was able to stick it close so that was a really nice way to finish.”
Walsh has been playing in Mass Golf Women’s events for most of of her childhood, and loves the competition and relationships it brings.
“I think Junior Golf in mass is definitely on the rise,” said Walsh. “I think when I first started there were fewer girls and now to see players like Sofie Robinson out here she’s younger, and Christine Mandela. There’s a lot of great girl golfers playing in this event. It’s nice to see that it’s growing.”
In the President’s Cup match play bracket, Danielle Lee (International) defeated opponent Melissa Hem (Dedham C & PC) through 16 holes of tough competition. Lee, the 2018 runner-up in the President’s Cup flight, trailed Hem through the first seven holes of play before striking on the next three holes to take control of the round. She would square up the match on the 296-yard par 4 8th hole, make par on the 9th hole to go 1 up on Hem, and again on the 10th hole to ride a 2-up lead for another string of holes before adding another onto the card at the 15th hole.
“My strategy was to keep it in the fairway today and get on the green in regulation,” said Lee. “I just wanted to put it close to the hole. I was not focused on getting in the hole, but just getting close enought to the hole and then I figure everything else would take care of itself.”
Lee advanced to the finals of the President’s Cup flight in 2018 before falling to Kerry Dolan after 19 holes of play.
“I’ve been toiling at the Women’s tournaments for 10 plus years,” said Lee. “I think I was here when they had the Amateur here at Weston in 2011. So I’ve been doing this a long time. And it’s pretty gratifying after all those years and all that work to finally win one.”
An adjustment to this year’s Women’s Amateur was the change to the President’s Cup bracket featuring those competitors who finished outside the top 16 following the first two rounds of stroke play rather than outside the top 32.
“Having worked all these years to improve my golf game, it was gratifying to get the win this week by having to beat some of the women golfers that I’ve always looked up to as some of the best in the state” said Lee. “While I’ll miss the old format, I appreciate the new format because it creates a reason for the top women golfers to play for the President’s Cup.”
Click on the @PlayMassGolf Twitter Thread for the Hole by Hole Descriptions of the Championship match for the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship
The #MassWomensAm Championship Match is underway! Overall one seed takes on 11 seed Anne Walsh for the chance to win the oldest Amateur event in the Bay State!
— #MassGolf (@PlayMassGolf) August 15, 2019
(1) ANGELA GARVIN DEF. (5) PAM KUONG, 2&1
It was a back and forth affair between Angela Garvin and Pam Kuong throughout the whole match this morning. Kuong would strike first making a birdie on the par-5 second hole taking the early lead. Last weeks Junior Amateur Champion was not going to go down easy, as she made par and birdie on holes four and five to take the 1-up lead herself. The two players would then exchange wins by taking two holes each on the remaining front nine and Garvin keeping her 1-up lead going into 10th hole. On the back nine of the match it was a different story, as they posted the same scores through hole 15. Garvin would finally secure her spot in the championship match after winning 16 and halving the 17th hole.
(7) ANNE WALSH DEF. (11) REBECCA SKOLER, 1-UP
The last semifinal match of the day would go the distance, with Anne Walsh winning the match 1-up on the 18th hole. Walsh took the early lead capturing the first hole of the day, as well as, making pars on holes four and five to go 3-up. Skoler responded with a par of her own on the par-4 eighth hole, but that was quickly taken away after Walsh won the ninth hole with a par as well. For most of the back nine it was all Rebecca Skoler, as she tied the match by winning holes 10, 13, and 17 going into the final hole. Here Walsh would claim the final spot by tapping in for par and getting ready for Angela Garvin in the championship match.
(1) MELISSA HEM DEF. (5) COURTNEY LEE, 6&5
In the first semifinal match of the day, Dedham’s Melissa Hem struck early making all par’s on the first four holes and going 4-up. Courtney Lee would then fight back on the par-5 sixth hole, decreasing the deficit to 3-up. Hem’s consistent play kept her going as she made two pars, to go 5-up after eight and nine to which Lee responded with a hole of her own, but was unfortunately not enough. Melissa Hem would take another win, after securing holes 12 and 13 to move on to the Presidents Cup Championship match this afternoon.
(7) DANIELLE LEE DEF. (11) CHERYL KRUEGER, 1-UP
Cheryl Krueger dug herself into a hole early, losing three of the first four holes of this match. She was able to settle in after, taking holes eight and 11 to reduce the deficit to 1-up. Danielle Lee acted quickly making par on the par-4 twelfth hole, regaining her 2-up lead. As the duel continued, Krueger would make pars on 14 and 15 to bring the lead down to one again. Heading into the last two holes, Lee would make a great birdie on the par-3 17th hole and halve the 18th to win, 1-up.
For complete coverage of the Mass Golf events, visit MassGolf.org or follow Mass Golf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @PlayMassGolf.