Minnesota Golf Association

A Final-Round 65 Gives Ledwein and Welch Third MGA Women's Four-Ball Victory

August 2, 2021

 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Entering the final round of last year’s Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship facing a two-stroke deficit, the team of Taylor Ledwein and Megan Welch fired a 65 to come from behind for a three-stroke victory at Dellwood Country Club.
 
The former Bradley University teammates found themselves in a similar position after firing a 4-under 68 to open the championship Sunday at Northfield Golf Club to trail Leah Herzog and Sophia Yoemans by one stroke, but would roll in five birdies over the final seven holes Monday to claim a second straight win at the event, and a third title over the past four seasons.
 
“This one is different because I leave in two weeks for [LPGA Qualifying School],” said Ledwein, who will attempt to qualify at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., beginning August 19. “We’ll probably have the U.S. Four-Ball together, but if I get my card, you don’t really know what will happen.
 
“Thinking this could be my last MGA event is kind of sad because I’ve been playing in them since I was 12. At the same time, it’s been fun and I’ve grown throughout these events. I’ve had some heartbreak and some triumphs and all of them have helped build me to get ready to go in two weeks.”
 
Ledwein and Welch advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas in late April, falling to the twosome of Paris Hilinski and Alexa Pano.
 
With their finish in Texas, the two earned an exemption into the championship next spring in Puerto Rico.
 
“Internally, for me, there was a little more pressure coming off the U.S. Four-Ball. Knowing I can do it and making the shots are two different things,” Welch said Monday. “Being able to do that and being able to enjoy that with my best friend this week for possibly the last time is something I’ll never forget.
 
“This one is different for me because in the past, it was just another tournament and we’d have the school year together. This year we don’t get that and it’s taken a while for me to accept that.”
 
Ledwein and Welch birdied three of their first four holes to start the final round Monday, to momentarily take the lead from Herzog and Yoemans, but would bogey the par-4 eighth hole to fall one off the lead through nine holes.
 
Finding her putting stroke over the final nine holes Monday, Welch dropped a pair of birdie putts from inside of eight feet at the 12th and 13th to regain a one-shot lead. Sticking her approach shot inside of four feet at the 15th led to another birdie by Welch before she sank an 18-footer at the 17th.
 
Ledwein’s approach at the 18th stopped three inches from the cup, tapping in for birdie as her and Welch carded a final-round 65 to capture their third MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship with a four-stroke win at 11-under 133.
 
“With us, the goal is to give us two looks at birdie,” Ledwein said. “We went in [the final round] last year two down and had the same game plan. We don’t let the environment change it and do what we want to do and what we like to do.”
 
“We made nine pars on the front nine yesterday and had birdie looks, but they just weren’t falling,” Welch said. “Capitalizing on those birdie looks we had today—we felt like the front nine was the harder nine out here. If we could get through there with a couple birdies, then on the back nine we could be more freely and do what we know we can do.”
 
Ledwein, a 23-year-old from New Prague, Minn., won the Class AAA individual title in 2015 for her first state win and followed it with a Twin Cities Junior Championship victory weeks later. Ledwein won a second straight Class AAA individual title in 2016, as well as the Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship.
 
She followed up a winless 2017 season by hoisting hardware three times in 2018: the MGA Women’s Match Play Championship, the MGA Women’s Amateur Championship and her first win with Welch at the MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.
 
Last season Ledwein and Welch claimed their second Women’s Four-Ball title together, which lifted Ledwein into a share of MGA Women’s Player of the Year honors with Kate Smith.
 
During her five seasons at Bradley, Ledwein’s career stroke average of 75.61 ranks second in school history. She won three collegiate events, was named Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the week nine times and earned MVC Golfer of the Year honors to cap off her fifth season this spring.
 
Welch, a soon-to-be senior at Bradley this fall, claimed her first state win at the Minnesota PGA Players’ Tour Tournament of Champions in 2015 prior to her three Women’s Four-Ball victories.
 
While at Bradley, Welch currently ranks 12th on the all-time career scoring list at 78.98, notching a pair of top-10 finishes in 13 collegiate events.
 
Maintaining a one-stroke lead through nine holes Monday, Herzog and Yoemans would bogey the 10th to fall into a share of the lead before a birdie at the 11th put them in front by one. The two kept pace with a birdie at the 15th, but a costly double-bogey at the 16th put Herzog and Yoemans out of reach, carding a 2-under 70 to finish at 7-under 137.
 
Bouncing back from a bogey on the opening hole Monday, the twosome of Julia Hall and Megan Munneke carded three birdies over their final 17 holes to post a final-round to finish in third place at 1-under 143.
 
Alyssa Akiyama and Jordan Amelon carded a 1-under 71 to begin the tournament Sunday and followed it with a 1-over 73 to finish tied for fourth with the pairing of Camille Kuznik and Aayushi Sarkar, who fired back-to-back rounds of 72, at even par 144.
 
Sarah Bowles and Gay Eggers carded a round of even par 72 Monday and would win a scorecard playoff over the team of Clare Pobanz and Kara Salava, who fired a 1-under 71 on the final day to finish in a tie atop the leaderboard in the First Flight.
 
Jeanne and Justine Hawkinson posted a 3-over 75 Monday and would win a scorecard playoff against Christina Payton and Sheryl Raithel in the Second Flight. Both teams would card a 36-hole tally of 9-over 153.
 
Opening the championship with a six-stroke lead in the Third Flight thanks to a round of 80 Sunday, Denise Cosgrove and Nikki Heilskov went on to win by six shots over Marion Holly and Fran Page at 24-over 168.
 

 


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