Minnesota Golf Association

Acharya Goes Back-to-Back at MGA Women's Mid-Amateur

August 31, 2020

 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
 DULUTH, Minn. – Playing in just her eighth state championship this week at the 24th Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, Jasi Acharya fired back-to-back rounds of 75 to claim a three-stroke victory Monday at Northland Country Club, becoming the fourth player in tournament history to successfully defend her title.
 
Entering Monday’s final round in a share of the lead with Betsy Aldrich, the 2019 MGA Women’s Player of the Year Acharya rolled in a late birdie to pull away and collect her second-career state win.
 
“The whole day felt like I was in survival mode,” Acharya said after Monday’s final round in wet and windy conditions. “Nothing really felt great, but I was just trying not to do anything too stupid. It was quite a different course today, not just from the rain, but the wind blowing from a different direction, which played quite a bit different on a lot of holes.
 
“This win is special and I’m very excited. This course has gone to the top of my list as far as courses in Minnesota go—I could play this thing just about every day. I’m proud of the way I survived out there today and I didn’t give up at any point. I tried to minimize mistakes and didn’t have any big numbers the last two days, which was key.”
 
Prior to her 12th-place finish at the MGA Women’s Amateur Championship at Stillwater Country Club in July, Acharya had never finished worse than eighth in six starts, including one win and three runner-up finishes.
 
Acharya’s first state win at last year’s Women’s Mid-Amateur came after the tournament was cut short to just 18 holes, where the former University of Montana golfer sank a 30-foot putt on the final hole to card a 2-over 74, edging both Aldrich and Klasse by one stroke.
 
In a moment of déjà vu Monday, Acharya watched as heavy rain fell on the course and delayed final-round tee times by three hours.
 
“It’s nice to get both days in this year,” she said. “I really look forward to this event the last few years I’ve played it and it’s been fun getting to know some of the ladies a little better since I haven’t lived here that long.”
 
When the final round got under way, Acharya carded three bogeys over her first six holes to slip to 7-over for the championship, but maintained a two-stroke lead through nine holes. Even after back-to-back bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes, Acharya hung onto a slim lead before getting a read off Herrick’s putt at the 16th, dropping a 6-footer for birdie to stretch her lead to three.
 
“I thanked [Herrick] for that because that was a little bit of a swing. Betsy had holed a couple nice putts and I had a good line, so it was nice to roll one in,” Acharya said. “I don’t know if I made anything besides that one over four feet over the last two days.”
 
A steady Acharya closed out with a two-putt par on the final hole to notch her second straight round of 75 to win by three strokes, shooting 8-over 150.
 
“It was a fun year and I’m glad I got to play in the events I did,” said Acharya, a 36-year-old sales specialist at PXG. “I probably can’t have high expectations as I might want to because I know that this game requires a lot more than just going out on the golf course. Hopefully I’ll have more time to work on the game moving forward and I’d like to compete a little more. It was nice to cap it off this way.
 
“I tried to stay patient this week, knowing that bogeys were going to happen and not to force anything. When you do that, you end up leaving yourself with a six-foot, downhill putt and those are quite scary out here.”
 
A second straight runner-up finish for Aldrich came down to her putter over the final 18 holes Monday.
 
“I hit the ball really, really well and the 7-over that I was, was literally seven missed putts under eight feet. I had little breaking putts that missed by a millimeter short, long, right and left,” Aldrich said. “It would’ve been a several-stroke swing if I could have made a few of those. That’s what it came down to—I missed a lot of makeable putts.”
 
Aldrich bogeyed the opening hole and then could card four straight bogeys to fall to 9-over for the championship and two shots off the lead. Rolling in an 8-footer for birdie at the par-4 15th, Aldrich climbed back to within two, but a bogey on the final hole put her in the clubhouse at 11-over 153.
 
“I didn’t have my usual double or triple-bogey, so I was very steady over the last two days. Jasi deserved it today—she played really steady”
 
Aldrich claimed her third consecutive MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Match Play Championship earlier this season and teamed up with Barbara Miller to win the MGA Women’s Senior Four-Ball Championship last week.

She closes out the season with her second runner-up finish and will earn her first MGA Women’s Senior Player of the Year Award, ending Leigh Klasse’s 10-year streak.
 
Former University of Minnesota golfer and 2017 champion Paige McCullough fired a final-round 80 to claim a tie for third with two-time champ Olivia Herrick at 17-over 159.


 


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