Mass Women's Amateur: Johnson, Schernecker Advance To Final Match - MASSGOLF

Shannon Johnson To Play Catie Schernecker In Final Match At Plymouth Country Club

For Immediate Release: August 12, 2021

PLYMOUTH, Massachusetts – A past champion and a new finalist will meet Friday in the 18-hole final match to conclude a historic 118th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship at Plymouth Country Club.

Following two rounds of stroke play and two days of match play, North Easton’s Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea Golf Club) and incoming Harvard University first-year Catie Schernecker (The Country Club), of Chestnut Hill, are the two players remaining.

Johnson won every hole between 6-9 to defeat Westford’s Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club) in her semifinal, 3&2, on Thursday, while Schernecker drained a 75-foot birdie putt on the 18th to tie her semifinal match then won the first playoff hole to advance past South Yarmouth’s Jennifer Keim (Bayberry Hills Golf Course).

The final match begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday at Plymouth Country Club. CLICK HERE to view the Facebook Live stream.

ONLINE: CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL | MATCH PLAY BRACKET | PHOTO GALLERY | PAST CHAMPIONS

MEET THE FINALISTS

SHANNON JOHNSON
Instagram: @shannon_johnson10

  • 2018 Mass Women’s Amateur champion
  • 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion
  • 3-time Mass Golf Women’s Player of the Year (2016, 2018, 2020)
  • Has won 9 individual Mass Golf titles (5-Women’s Stroke Play, 3 Women’s Mid-Amateur, 1-Women’s Amateur). 
  • Belongs to Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton
  • Was the oldest remaining player (38) to make the semifinals


ROAD TO THE FINAL
Stroke Play:
74-78–152 (T12/No. 13 seed)
R32: Def. Alice Fan, 2&1
R16: Def. Sana Tufail, 2&1
Quarterfinals: Def. Angela Garvin, 3&2
Semifinals: Def. Molly Smith, 3&2

Shannon Johnson

CATIE SCHERNECKER
Instagram: @catie_schern

  • Has played the most holes of any competitor during match play (76)
  • Will be a first-year student and member of the Women’s Golf Team at Harvard University this fall
  • Her father, Fred, is the Director of Golf at Harvard University
  • Plays out of The Country Club in Brookline and defeated fellow club member Chelsea Curtis in the Round of 32
  • Attended Winsor High School and started a club golf team there since they do not have a varsity-level program


ROAD TO THE FINAL
Stroke Play: 75-75-160 (T6/No. 7 seed)
R32: Def. Chelsea Curtis, 19 Holes
R16: Def. Mary Chamberlain, 1 up
Quarterfinals: Def. Victoria Veator, 20 holes
Semifinals: Def. Jennifer Keim, 19 holes

Catie Schernecker

WATCH: DAY 4 RECAP

SEMIFINAL RECAPS

7-Catie Schernecker, The Country Club def. 14-Jennifer Keim, Bayberry Hills Golf Course, 19 holes

“Unnecessary drama, for sure.”

That’s how Catie Schernecker described surviving two extra-hole matches Thursday, plus another in the Round of 32.

But the drama created a fantastic finish in her match against Jennifer Keim. Down 1 through 16 holes, Schernecker salvaged the match with two must-have putts, each one more clutch than the next.

After draining a 16-footer on the 17th to get up and down for par, Schernecker hit down near a bunker off the tee on the 18th, but her approach shot rolled to the back right of the green. Fortunately for her, Keim was even farther away and rolled it to about 5-feet, giving her a read.

Catie Schernecker hits a tee shot during her semifinal match Thursday. (Mass Golf)

She then stepped up and hit the perfect putt, and she stood frozen in her spot as the ball rolled at a perfect pace, broke a little to the left, and dropped into the cup, with Schernecker audibly reacting to the made putt.

“It’s crazy,” Schernecker said. “I knew I had to get it to the hole. I had a similar putt this morning so I knew the line, and it went in.”

Schernecker still had work to do as she stepped to the first tee and put it down the middle. Keim was off to the left but managed to roll the ball onto the back of the green. Schernecker was also above the hole, and almost made birdie to end it, rolling it to within a couple of feet. Keim rolled her birdie attempt past the hole and was unable to save par and extend the match.

“After the first [playoff], I knew I felt comfortable doing that, so I think it’s kind of an advantage,” Schernecker said. “I know that it doesn’t spike my nerves or anything so I felt really comfortable doing it, even though it took a little extra out of me.”

Schernecker also sank an uphill putt to end her quarterfinal match on the second playoff hole against Victoria Veator (MIAA). She said she put a new putter in the bag about two and a half months ago, and the results have paid off.

“I’ve been working hard on my stroke all summer,” she said. “I’ve been working with my coach a lot on just my putting form, and I feel like it started paying off.”

Schernecker has made it to match play in the Women’s Amateur in previous years, but this is certainly her long run in the event.

“It’s so cool,” said Schernecker, the incoming freshman at Harvard University. “I’ve been working really hard on my game, and I’ve loved playing Mass Golf events for so many years now and just seeing it pay off in my game.”

Keim made the finals in 2016, and though she came up short, played well throughout the championship. She shot 1-under 69 in her morning match against Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club) and matched Schernecker with a 73 in the afternoon.

A graduate of Tusculum University in Tennessee, she’ll return this weekend and continue to support the team as a graduate assistant as she finishes her degree in nursing.

13-Shannon Johnson, Thorny Lea Golf Club def. 8-Molly Smith, Vesper Country Club, 3&2

Shannon Johnson said Wednesday, that the stretch of holes between 5-8 have been get-through holes. In Thursday’s semifinal, she did more than that, as she won four consecutive holes on the front nine to pull ahead of teenage standout Molly Smith.

After driving the green to set up a birdie on the par-4 6th, she won the par-4 7th with a par before catching a fortuitous bounce on the par-3 8th. Johnson’s ball was right on line and was about to sail past the flagstick, but it hit the flag, got knocked down and landed within a couple of feet.

It was an apparent sign that the proverbial winds were in her favor.

“It was an unbelievable shot,” Johnson said. “It looked great the whole way. I got really lucky there.”

Shannon Johnson hits from the fairway during Thursday’s semifinal match. (Mass Golf)

Before her semifinal match, Johnson said the range session paid dividends.

“In the morning matches, I was playing some a little right and hooking some left, and I really got the club in the right slot now and hit some really great shots out there today.”

Johnson, the reigning Massachusetts Women’s Player of the Year, is now trying to become the 25th person to win the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur more than once. Isabel Southard is the last person to win a second title, doing so in 2015.

“I think you can never take for granted getting in the finals,” Johnson said. “Every tournament we play in, every match play, it hopefully builds some confidence. You started seeing some putts go in, and you’re just going to gain that confidence, and I think that rolled over into this morning and then in the afternoon.”

Smith, this year’s Ouimet Memorial Tournament winner, is still leading the Women’s Player of the Year standings and made it further than ever before in the tournament. She shot 31 in her Round of 16 match and has had a stellar summer that has included two trips to USGA championships.

QUARTERFINAL RECAPS

8-Molly Smith, Vesper Country Club def. 1-Rebecca Skoler, Pine Brook Country Club, 2-up

Molly Smith aced the par-3 10th (157-yards) and took the lead for good with a birdie on the par-5 16th (490-yards) to knock off medalist Rebecca Skoler, a sophomore at the University of Virginia. Smith never led by more than two, and Skoler rallied to tie it with a two-putt par on the par-3 15th (184-yards). However, Smith won the next hole and was able to close it out with a pair of pars. In 2019, Skoler defeated Smith in the Round of 16 during the Mass Women’s Amateur.

13-Shannon Johnson, Thorny Lea Golf Club def. 5-Angela Garvin, The Ranch Golf Club, 3&2

In the battle of recent champions, 2018 winner Shannon Johnson emerged victorious, taking a lead by winning holes 3-6 and never trailed after that. Angela Garvin, the 2019 champion from the University of Maryland, brought the match to 2-down by making birdie at the turn. However, Johnson moved to 3-up through 10 and closed it out with birdies on the par-4 13th (309-yards) and par-5 16th (490-yards).

7-Catie Schernecker, The Country Club def. 18-Victoria Veator, MIAA, 20-holes

Catie Schernecker prevailed in a thrilling match by hitting a slow-rolling uphill putt on the second playoff hole (par-4, 2nd, 390-yards) to defeat young upstart Victoria Veator. Schernecker took an early 3-up lead, but Veator rallied to tie it, thanks in part to a long uphill birdie putt from the fringe on the par-3 8th. Veator tied it on the 17th, and Schernecker missed a putt within 5 feet that would’ve won it on the 18th. Though Veator flubbed a shot in the bunker on the first playoff hole, both players made par. Schernecker then closed out the match by hitting the green in two and making the putt.

14-Jennifer Keim, Bayberry Hills Golf Course def. 11-Morgan Smith, Vesper Country Club, 2-up

Both players made four birdies in their matchup, but the more experienced Jennifer Keim emerged victorious over Morgan Smith. For the second consecutive match, Keim rallied on the back-nine, shooting par or better over the final eight holes and winning four of the last five. Though Smith tied it with a birdie on the 16th, Keim knocked down a par putt on the 17th to take the lead. Keim was in the rough on the 18th but was able to knock her birdie putt close to the green, and Smith missed her two putts to end it.

NOTABLE

Here are some other tidbits from Day 4 at the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. 

  • Molly Smith’s hole-in-one during the quarterfinals was the first one in a Mass Women’s Amateur since Anne Walsh aced the par-3 4th hole during the stroke-play round at George Wright Golf Club in 2018.
  • Every one of Catie Schernecker’s four matches has gone the distance, with three of them requiring extra holes. In total, she has played 112 holes over the past four days. In comparison, Johnson has played 102, with none of her matches going to 18 holes.
  • Shannon Johnson and Angela Garvin both have Big Ten golf experience. Johnson played for the Indiana University women’s golf team from 2005-06, while Garvin is currently a junior at the University of Maryland.
  • Shannon Johnson is still the only player to have made birdie on the par-3 3rd hole (191-yards) located in front of the clubhouse. That birdie led her to a 2&1 victory over Alice Fan in the Round of 32 on Wednesday.
  • Thorny Lea Golf Club has a finalist in both state amateurs this year. Matt Parziale made the Mass Amateur final last month, while Johnson is in this year’s finals.
  • Jennifer Keim trailed at one point in every one of her matches, but also led in every match she played.

QUOTABLE

  • It’s so valuable to have her on my bag just because we played so much golf together, we know how far all our clubs go. We’re very much similar as far as yardage is. It’s nice to bounce stuff off of someone else. — Shannon Johnson on having her friend and fellow Thorny Lea Club member Megan Buck as a caddie on Thursday.
  • Ever since last year, I think her game has come along big time. She’s putting pretty well. This is just a golf course where you have to miss it on the correct side of the holes, and unfortunately, there were a couple of shots that she didn’t and I was able to scrape away with pars. — Shannon Johnson on playing against Molly Smith.
  • It’s such a great course, it sets up really fun for match play, and everyone here is just awesome. All of my matches have been with the best people, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. — Catie Schernecker on making it to the final match.
  • She’s such a great player. She has so much knowledge and expertise and I’ve played with her in the past and I really love playing with her so just appreciating her game and trying to play my best. — Catie Schernecker on squaring off with Shannon Johnson in the final.

 

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