Mass Women's Amateur: Youth Commands First Day Of Match Play - MASSGOLF

Women’s Amateur Quarterfinals Set After First Day Of Match Play At Plymouth Country Club

For Immediate Release: August 11, 2021

PLYMOUTH, Massachusetts – Five of the eight players still standing in the 118th Women’s Amateur Championship are in their teenage years after the first two rounds of match play, as they survived hot and gusty conditions Wednesday at Plymouth Country Club.

Medalist Rebecca Skoler, 19 of Needham, withstood a scare in her morning match, but never trailed in the afternoon to make it to the quarterfinals for the third consecutive year. Westford sisters Molly Smith, 16, and Morgan Smith, 17, also advanced, as did Bridgewater’s Victoria Veator, 16, and Chestnut Hill’s Catie Shernecker, 19. 

Brockton’s Shannon Johnson (2018 champion) and Agawam’s Angela Garvin (2019 champion) also advanced, as did 2016 runner-up Jennifer Keim, of South Yarmouth.

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

Victoria Veator, 16, a junior at Ursuline Academy, is one of the eight remaining players in the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. (David Colt)

WHAT’S NEXT

The remaining 8 players will compete in the quarterfinals Thursday morning, and four winners will advance to the semifinals Thursday afternoon. The 18-hole final match is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Friday.

Here are Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups:

7:30 a.m. – Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook Country Club) vs. Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club)

7:40 a.m. – Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea Golf Club) vs. Angela Garvin (The Ranch Golf Club)

7:50 a.m. – Victoria Veator (MIAA) vs. Catie Schernecker (The Country Club)

8:00 a.m. – Jennifer Keim (Bayberry Hills Golf Club) vs. Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club)

WATCH: DAY 3 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

ROUND OF 16 RECAPS

1-Rebecca Skoler, Pine Brook Country Club def. 17-Allison Paik, The Cape Club of Sharon, 2-up

Stroke play medalist Rebecca Skoler never trailed in her match as the University of Virginia standout made two key par putts to advance past defending champion Allison Paik, a sophomore at Columbia University. Skoler took an early 2-up lead, and though Paik battled back to tie it, Skoler hit key par putts on the 9th and 14th to win those holes and reopen the 2-up lead. On the 18th, Paik found the right rough and then hit over the green. Skoler was on in two and was able to lag putt close to the hole and end it.

“If today taught me anything, it’s that pars win holes, and pars are your friends for sure,” Skoler said.

Rebecca Skoler hits from a bunker as her father and caddie, Mike Skoler, watches. (David Colt)

8-Molly Smith, Vesper Country Club def. 9-Anina Ku, Belmont Country Club, 2&1

Molly Smith got off to a torrid start with four birdies on her first six holes, all par-4s, to take down Harvard University senior captain Anina Ku. Smith started with birdies on holes 1 and 2, followed by another two on the 5th and 6th en route to shooting 31 on the front nine. Though Ku won four holes on the back nine, Smith’s lead was never less than two, and Smith closed out the match with a pair of pars on holes 16 and 17.

13-Shannon Johnson, Thorny Lea Golf Club def. 4-Sana Tufail, Southborough Golf Club, 2&1

Similar to her morning match, Shannon Johnson went shot-for-shot on the front nine before finally pulling away from Sana Tufail to advance to the quarterfinals. The 2018 champion shifted the momentum by making birdies on holes 10, 11, and 12. On the 10th, she made a full swing and hit it to 7 feet above the flagstick, and made the birdie putt. Tufail won the 11th to take back the lead, but after Johnson’s bridie on the 12th, she hit her approach to about 3 feet on the 13th and tapped in to take a lead she’d never relinquish.

“This week I’ve really tried to go out there and play for myself, and hit the shots I know I can hit,” Johnson said. “I’ve been putting really well for the most part, and I think the more I play this golf course, the more comfortable I get on the greens and hopefully make a few more putts.”

5-Angela Garvin, The Ranch Golf Club def. 21-Sue Curtin, Boston Golf Club, 1-up

Tied through 11 holes, University of Maryland standout Angela Garvin took control by winning holes 12-14, including a right-to-left breaking birdie putt on the par-5 12th to pull ahead of U.S. Senior Women’s Open participant Sue Curtin. The match went the distance, though, as Curtin stuck her tee shot inside 10 feet left of the pin on the 15th to make birdie and then won the 17th with a par. However, Garvin made par to keep her march going for a second title in three years.

18-Victoria Veator, MIAA def. 2-Tracy Martin, Wellesley Country Club, 3&2

Victoria Veator jumped out to a 4-up lead through six holes and never relented. After winning two of the first three holes, she took a 4-up lead with a birdie on the 6th hole. Veator was strong with her iron play throughout the round and even caught a few breaks. On the par-3 3rd, she hooked her shot into the fescue and hit a provisional ball thinking it was out of bounds. However, the original ball was playable, and though she made bogey she ended up winning the hole.

7-Catie Schernecker, The Country Club def. 10-Mary Chamberlain, Cummaquid Golf Club, 1-up

Catie Shernecker, an incoming first-year at Harvard University, took an early 3-up lead, but Mary Chamberlain fought back to tie it with both players tied on the 18th tee. Shernecker was on in two, but her birdie putt just lipped out, opening the door for Chamberlain who was just off the green. Chamberlain hit to about 7 feet, but her par chance to extend the match also lipped out.

14-Jennifer Keim, Bayberry Hills Golf Course def. 3-Megan Buck, Thorny Lea Golf Club, 1-up

After missing last year’s event due to college commitments, Jennifer Keim is back in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years. Megan Buck took a 2-up lead with a birdie on the 14th, but Keim rallied by winning the next three holes. She caught a break by winning the 15th with a bogey and then was able to convert a pair of two-putt pars on the 16th and 17th to pull into the lead. Buck’s par putt on the 18th came up rolled close but couldn’t catch the left edge.

“During stroke play, I didn’t play those holes [15-17] great, so it was good to finally play them how I want to play them,” Keim said.

11-Morgan Smith, Vesper Country Club def. 6-Emily Nash, Northern Spy Golf Club, 4&2

Morgan Smith sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th to close out her match and make it through to the quarterfinals for the second time in three years. “To end it on a putt like that, I was not expecting that,” Smith said. Emily Nash, a junior at Siena College made a 40-footer for birdie on the 6th, but Smith also made a 10-footer to tie the hole and made the turn with a 3-up lead.

Morgan Smith is advancing to the quarterfinals for the second time in three years. (David Colt)

ROUND OF 32 RECAPS

1-Rebecca Skoler, Pine Brook Country Club def. 32-Emma Abramson, The Ridge Club, 3&2

Top-seeded Rebecca Skoler found herself down 2 through six holes but then won six consecutive holes on the back-nine to close out Emma Abramson, who advanced to match play through a sudden-death playoff Tuesday. Skoler made a 20-foot birdie breaking right to left on the 14th and then finished the match by winning the 15th.

17-Allison Paik, The Cape Club of Sharon def. 16-Christine Mandile, Winchester Country Club, 1-up

Defending champion Allison Paik tied the match with a par on the 10th, took the lead with a birdie on the 12th, and then matched Christine Mandile the rest of the way to advance to the Round of 16. Mandile almost sank a birdie putt outside 20 feet on the 17th, but it retired on the edge. Paik closed it out with a two-putt par on the 18th. Mandile had one of the best shots of the day as she holed out for eagle on the first hole from about 150-yards.

8-Molly Smith, Vesper Country Club def. 25-Pamela Kuong, Charles River Country Club, 3&2

Molly Smith won the first hole and never trailed against Pam Kuong, the champion in 2008 and 2010. Smith, who played in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur, took a commanding lead with a birdie on the 12th, as she’s made birdie or better in her first three trips around the course.

9-Anina Ku, Belmont Country Club def. 24-Mackenzie Whitney, Oak Hill Country Club, 4&3 

Harvard senior captain Anina Ku won the last four holes with pars to advance to the Round of 16. Ku and Whitney each won a hole on the 10th and 11th, but Ku got on a roll and finished out the match with a par on the par-3 15th.

4-Sana Tufail, Southborough Golf Club def. 29-Meredith Scala, The Kittansett Club, 2&1

Sana Tufail made birdie on the 5th hole and never trailed after that as she held off a challenge from Meredith Scala, who made her first match play appearance since 2018. Tufail closed out the match by making a par on the par-4 17th.

13-Shannon Johnson, Thorny Lea Golf Club def. 20-Alice Fan, Bas Ridge Golf Course, 2&1

Shannon Johnson, the 2018 champion, prevailed in a tight match that was almost entirely even through the front nine. Johnson took a 1-up lead with a birdie on the third and held that lead at the turn. Fan, a standout at Boston University, was tied through 14, but Johnson won the 15th and 17th with pars to close out the match.

5-Angela Garvin, The Ranch Golf Club def. 28-Annie Dai, MIAA, 3&1

In a battle of Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur champions, University of Maryland standout Angela Garvin prevailed by winning holes 16 and 17 to close out the match. Garvin, the 2019 Women’s Amateur champion, made birdies on holes 10 and 12 to stretch her lead to 3-up, and though Dai won holes 13 and 14, Garvin closed it out with two late hole victories. Dai won this year’s Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship.

21-Sue Curtin, Boston Golf Club def. 12-Tracy Welch, Winchester Country Club, 20 holes

Sue Curtin pulled off the best comeback of the morning round, rallying from 4-down by winning four of the final five holes to extend the match into extra holes against two-time champion Tracy Welch (1998 & 2006). After tying the first playoff hole, Curtin sank the winning putt from off the back of the green to cap off her victory.

2-Tracy Martin, Wellesley Country Club def. 31-Alison Eleey, Harmon Golf, 3&2

Tracy Martin made birdie on the par-5 16th to close out her tight match with Alison Eleey. Martin, the runner-up in 2012, took the lead with a par on the 13th and won the final two holes. Eleey made a solid charge by winning holes 8-10 but couldn’t hold the lead.

18-Victoria Veator, MIAA def. 15-Mekhala Costello, Blue Hill Country Club, 2-up

In a back-and-forth match between two junior standouts, Ursuline Academy student Victoria Veator advanced after breaking a tied match with a par on the 16th and then hitting a lag putt close to secure par on the 18th.

7-Catie Schernecker, The Country Club def. 26-Chelsea Curtis, The Country Club, 19 holes

The battle of members at The Country Club needed extra holes after Catie Schernecker and Chelsea Curtis both made high-pressure par putts on the 18th. On the first playoff hole, Curtis found the middle of the fairway, while Shernecker was wide right. However, Schernecker landed her approach on the back of the green, while Curtis was wide right and was unable to get up and down. Schernecker then hit a lag putt to close out the match. Curtis won the Women’s Amateur in 2005.

10-Mary Chamberlain, Cummaquid Golf Club def. 23-Isabel Brozena, Indian Ridge Country Club, 7&6

Mary Chamberlain had the most lopsided match of the morning as she defeated Massachusetts Individual High School champion Isabel Brozena by winning 5 of the first 6 holes en route to victory. Chamberlain, who knocked off medalist Megan Buck the year prior, had a five-up lead at the turn and finished the match by winning holes 11 and 12.

3-Megan Buck, Thorny Lea Golf Club def. 30-Jacqueline Gonzalez, Charles River Country Club, 2&1

Megan Buck moved into the Round of 16 by surging ahead in the middle of the round. Buck, last year’s medalist, took a 1-up lead with a birdie on the par-3 8th and also won the 10th. Gonzalez cut it to 1-down with a par on the 16th, but Buck closed it out by winning the 17th.

14-Jennifer Keim, Bayberry Hills Golf Course def.19-Ava Spencer, Renaissance, 5&4

Jennifer Keim, a recent graduate of Tusculum University in Tennessee, lost the opening hole but dominated the rest of the way by making birdie on holes 5, 8, and 11 to move into the Round of 16 for the second time in three years. Keim finished runner-up five years ago in the Women’s Amateur.

6-Emily Nash, Northern Spy Golf Club def. 27-Grace Farland, Marlborough Country Club, 2-up

Siena College’s Emily Nash overcame an early 3-down deficit through six holes and caught up to incoming University of Hartford student Grace Farland by the 12th hole. Nash took the lead by winning the 16th and then closing it out with a birdie on the 18th.

11-Morgan Smith, Vesper Country Club def. Keira Joshi, Nashawtuc Country Club, 1-up

Morgan Smith got up and down from the sand trap to make par on the 18th and hold off Low Net winner Keira Joshi. Smith held a 2-up lead through 14, and though Joshi won the 16th with a birdie, it wasn’t enough to catch Smith.

NOTABLE

Here are some other tidbits from Day 3 at the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. 

    • Rebecca Skoler and Molly Smith faced off in the Round of 16 during the 2019 Mass Women’s Amateur Championship. Skoler won their match, 3&2, and then beat Smith’s older sister, Morgan by the same score.
    • Molly Smith is trying to become the first player to win the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and the Mass Women’s Amateur in the same year. Jacquelyn Eleey and Pam Kuong on the only individuals who have won both championships. Neither Smith nor Victoria Veator, the youngest players remaining, have not trailed in any of their matches so far.
    • Victora Veator and her family have been close with PGA TOUR pro Camilo Villegas and his family ever since Villegas walked with Veator up the fairway during the 2009 Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. Villegas tragically lost his infant daughter Mia to brain and spinal cancer last year, and the Villegas family set up a foundation called “Mia’s Miracles.” Victoria and her father and caddy Jim still support the organization, and Veator dedicated her U.S. Challenge Cup victory back on July 27 to Mia’s Miracles. The families still regularly text each other good luck, and last week, it was announced that Villegas and María Ochoa are expecting their second child.
    • Spotted on course Wednesday was Joanne Goodwin, a 2014 inductee into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame who grew up playing at Plymouth Country Club. Goodwin, now 85, won the Mass Women’s Amateur four times, was finalist in the 1959 U.S. Women’s Amateur, and represented the United States in the 1960 Curtis Cup. In 1954, she won the Mass Amateur at age 18, becoming the youngest person to do so. Weeks later she won her fourth consecutive Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur.
    • Shannon Johnson has made it to the quarterfinals each of the past five years she’s played in the Women’s Amateur.
    • Jennifer Keim never played Plymouth prior to the Women’s Amateur, not even a practice round. Two days prior to the championship she drove 17 hours up from Tennessee and then took final exams before beginning the competition. Keim is a nursing student and will be a graduate assistant for the Division II Tusculum women’s golf team this year.
    • Mass Golf Executive Director/CEO Jesse Menachem celebrated his 35th birthday on-site at Plymouth Country Club. Menachem was the starter for the morning matches off hole 1, and Rules Official Peter Costello serenaded him by singing Happy Birthday.

QUOTABLE

  • It’s really hard playing a defending champion in this tournament, especially in the Round of 16. Allison and I have been competing against each other for years, and she’s such a strong competitor and a great player. But taking an early lead was helpful, and it was just grinding it out because we were going back and forth the rest of the round. — Rebecca Skoler, on her Round of 16 match with 2020 champion Allison Paik.
  • Today was definitely a grind in both of my matches. I’m pretty exhausted so I’m going to get some sleep and go in tomorrow with a totally clean slate and just play my game. — Rebecca Skoler on battling the warm, windy conditions
  • Molly thinks ahead, so she’s got things all mapped out, and she telling me last night who I’d be playing tomorrow morning. — Morgan Smith on advancing alongside her sister Molly Smith. 
  • The best is to keep the ball flighted down, and some shots here you had to club up like two clubs, which is pretty significant. — Morgan Smith on playing the wind at Plymouth Country Club.
  • Ever since I got new irons last spring, I’ve hit so many greens, and I feel unstoppable whenever I have an iron in my hand. — Victoria Veator on what has given her more confidence entering the Women’s Amateur this year.
  • I think I feel more comfortable on the back nine as opposed to the front. That stretch of holes 5-8, you’re just trying to salvage those holes and get out as best you can with pars, those will win a lot on those holes. I feel a little more freer once we get into hole nine and make the turn. Definitely some gettable holes, like 12 where I can get on in two, even with the wind. — Shannon Johnson, after winning seven holes on the back nine and just one on the front in her two matches Wednesday.

 

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