Minnesota Golf Association

A Taylor-made Victory as Ledwein Claims 2018 Women's Amateur Championship at White Bear Yacht Club

July 25, 2018

  By Nick Hunter
  DELLWOOD, Minn. – After finishing the second round of the 2018 Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship two shots out of the lead following her round of 69 Tuesday at White Bear Yacht Club, Taylor Ledwein said her goal for the final day was to shoot even par and if her effort wasn’t good enough, then it wasn’t meant to be.
Helped by a string of birdies to begin her back nine, Ledwein did two better Wednesday by shooting 2-under par 72 to claim a four-stroke victory over Natalie Roth, Sophia Yoemans and Grace Kellar, notching her third state title and second major championship of the 2018 season.
“We talked about hitting fairways and greens today and when putts drop, they’ll drop,” Ledwein said after her win Wednesday. “Another big thing that my coach has taught us is embracing bogeys—if it happens to just live with that. I used to not be able to, but if it happens now, I just want to go get one back. On 10, 11 and 12 I got three back, so you never know what can happen.
“This one means more because everyone is here. It’s just a great field from Leigh [Klasse], Brenda [Williams] to Claudia [Pilot], Olivia [Herrick] and Natalie and the younger players. To come out on top it really shows that my game is at the top point right now.”
Ledwein defeated Herrick to claim the 2018 MGA Women’s State Match Play Championship, 2 and 1, at Faribault Golf Club in late June to earn her first victory since winning the 2016 Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship at Chaska Town Course.
Entering Wednesday’s round two shots behind Roth, Ledwein carded birdie on the opening hole, but was unable to make up ground as Roth rolled in a two-putt birdie as well.
Ledwein would take the lead for good after an errant tee shot at the par-3 third proved fatal for Roth, who took triple-bogey to fall behind Ledwein by one stroke. Both players carded bogey at the long, par-3 eighth hole and Ledwein maintained a slim lead to the final nine.
After rolling in a 6-footer for birdie at the 10th, Ledwein took control of the match by nearly sinking her tee shot at the par-3 11th, leaving her ball hanging on the edge of the cup for a kick-in birdie to get to 7-under. A third straight birdie at the par-4 12th gave Ledwein her biggest lead of the tournament at four, but Roth clawed her way back to within one late.
Roth cut Ledwein’s lead in half by sinking a 12-foot bender at the 14th, while Ledwein three-putted for bogey before Roth rolled in another birdie from 10 feet at the 15th to pull within one. But Roth, who flourished on the greens during Tuesday’s second round by sinking six straight birdies, struggled to manage her speed on the putting surface Wednesday.

Making a crucial par putt on 15 from eight feet, while Roth was already in for birdie, Ledwein said was a big momentum boost despite watching her lead getting trimmed to just one with only three holes to play.
“That pin was a tough pin and I put myself in a godawful position over there. After watching [Roth make birdie], I was thinking if I make this I can finish it out and win,” Ledwein said. “Obviously I hit a good shot on 17—getting to that tee I was a little worried. My heart was racing over the putt more than the tee shot because I wanted to leave that putt in tap-in range, get my par and get out of there.”
Ledwein made triple-bogey at the 175-yard 17th hole during Monday’s opening round and failed to get up-and-down to save par during Tuesday’s second round.
Roth would card three consecutive three-putts on the final three holes to finish in a three-way tie for third with Yoemans and Kellar at 3-under par 219, while Ledwein cruised to the finish line with consecutive pars to card a 7-under par 215.
“I stayed calm and dealt with what I got,” Ledwein said was the key for her this week. “Yesterday at nine I hit my ball in the weeds, and today I hit my ball in the weeds, but just punched out and took what I could get and made par. My driver was really good—everything was really working this week.”
Ledwein, who claimed back-to-back Class AAA individual titles her junior and senior seasons at New Prague High School, will begin her junior season at Bradley University this fall. In her first two seasons, Ledwein has made quite an impact on the program, collecting eight top-10 finishes and her career stroke average of 76.10 ranks second all-time in school history.
After tying a course record the previous day to take the 36-hole lead, a final-round 78 was a disappointing finish for Roth, but one she’ll use as motivation in the coming weeks.
“I’m obviously a little disappointed but like any tournament, you learn a lot,” Roth said. “I was trying to stay mentally with it, which is why I enjoyed having a caddie this week, because we could be in our own little bubble. You have to take away as many positives as you can. I was hitting the ball great all three days and I didn’t miss many fairways, but you can always work on the short game. The course was in perfect condition all three days and hats off to Taylor, she played like the winner should play.”
“The biggest difference—everyone is affected by nerves, but when I feel nerves it affects my putter. Taking control and recognizing that will help me in the future. It’s a good momentum builder for what I want to do in the next couple of weeks going to [Qualifying School], so I’m happy with the tournament and I know that I have some things to work on.”
Roth flies to Palm Springs August 11th to compete in Q-school at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where the top 60 players will move on from a field of 300 women.
Kellar, who will begin her sophomore season for the Gophers this fall, carded a final-round 72 Wednesday to finish in a tie for second, while Yoemans fired a 3-under par 71 during Wednesday’s final round to finish at 219.
Kate Smith, winner of the 2017 championship at Northland Country Club, posted a 3-over par 225 to finish in a tie for fifth place along with Stephanie Herzog and Emma Groom.
6,151 YARDS, PAR 74
1. Taylor Ledwein, New Prague GC, 74-69-72—215
T2. Natalie Roth, Moorhead CC, 73-68-78—219
T2. Sophia Yoemans, Mississippi Nat’l Golf Links, 73-75-71—219
T2. Grace Kellar, Olympic Hills GC, 74-73-72—219
T5. Kate Smith, Detroit CC, 75-77-73—225
T5. Stephanie Herzog, Mississippi Nat’l Golf Links, 77-74-74—225
T5. Emma Groom, Olympic Hills GC, 74-76-75—225
8. Athena Yang, Edinburgh USA, 74-76-79—229
T9. Jenna Janu, Minnewaska GC, 81-76-73—230
T9. Megan Welch, Brackett’s Crossing CC, 76-78-76—230
T9. Alexa Hanson, Olympic Hills GC, 73-79-78—230

Download Full Results: MGA Women_s Amateur Championship Leaderboard 4.pdf

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