Minnesota Golf Association

Ledwein and Welch Come From Behind to Win Second MGA Women's Four-Ball Title

August 6, 2020

 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  DELLWOOD, Minn. – A string of birdies early on their back nine Wednesday boosted the twosome of Taylor Ledwein and Megan Welch to a final-round 67 and a three-stroke victory at the 2020 Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Dellwood Country Club for their second title in three seasons.
 
Ledwein and Welch, who claimed the 2018 championship at Crow River Golf Club, entered the final round two shots behind a pair of University of Minnesota teams consisting of Kate Lillie and Grace Kellar and Emma Carpenter and Grace Curran, before staging a late rally Wednesday, carding four birdies over the final eight holes to pull out the victory by shooting 8-under 138.
 
“We kind of talked yesterday, and we weren’t playing great—we just weren’t making anything—so we thought if we could just get to a few under, get within striking distance and give ourselves more opportunities to have two birdie looks, we would be fine,” Ledwein said.
 
Teammates at Bradley University, Ledwein and Welch carded back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes Wednesday to quickly jump into a share of the lead and would turn at 4-under for the championship.
 
Welch two-putted for birdie at 11 and Ledwein countered by recovering from a bad chip at the 13th by rolling in her birdie chance from six feet to boost the twosome to 6-under for the tournament and one shot better than Kellar and Lillie.
 
Looking to pull away late, both Ledwein and Welch had short birdie putts at the par-4 14th and Ledwein would put her birdie chance from six feet in the middle of the cup at the 17th to seal the championship, carding one last par to shoot a bogey-free 67 to earn a three-shot victory at 8-under 138
 
“We had a bogey on the third hole yesterday, but had a couple good birdie chances that we just missed early on, so we knew those birdies were out there,” Welch said. “It’s a tougher course than [2018], so we just wanted to have options for making birdies, but knew making par would still be good.”
 
“The other big thing for us today was the par-3’s—they were hard," Ledwein added. "They were long and I think on all four we had birdie looks. Par was going to be a good score on those with how long they were playing.”
 
On Wednesday, Ledwein added her eighth state championship to her impressive golf resume, which includes wins at the MGA Women’s Amateur and the Women’s Match Play in 2018, as well as back-to-back Class AAA individual titles during her junior and senior seasons at New Prague High School.
 
Ledwein will opt for a fifth season at Bradley this fall after missing parts of her senior season with an injury. She’s claimed 16 top-10 finishes with one collegiate victory, while earning Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the Week honors five times during her career.
 
With her collegiate career nearing an end, Ledwein reflected with a new perspective on a victory turned bittersweet.
 
“Who knows where I’ll be in a year because I’ll be done with school, so I may be working or if I do decide to turn pro,” she said. “Megan was at her lake, so it means a lot that she came from her family stuff to play together at least one more time. It means that much more because it could be the last time I play in it.”
 
Welch, who claimed a Minnesota Junior PGA Players’ Tour Tournament of Champions win in 2015 prior to her win with Ledwein in 2018, will begin her third season at Bradley later this season. During her sophomore season, she claimed a top-10 finish and a pair of top-20’s, earning MVC Golfer of the Week honors.
 
“This one means a lot more because [in 2018] I was just going into college and we weren’t as close, but now we’re best friends and do everything together, so it’s fun to be able to do this together again, too,” said Welch.
 
Carpenter and Curran took a share of the first-round lead with Gopher teammates Kellar and Lillie Tuesday, after both twosomes fired rounds of 4-under par 69.
 
Curran, who defeated Kathryn VanArragon in a playoff at The Wilds Golf Club to claim the MGA Women’s Match Play Championship in June, and Carpenter carded a bogey at the par-3 sixth hole, but bounced back when both birdied the par-5 eighth. A bogey at the ninth dropped Carpenter and Curran out of the lead at 3-under for the championship.
 
Over the final nine holes, the two mustered back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th to pull within three shots of the lead and would finish in a tie with Gopher teammates Kellar and Lillie at 5-under 141, carding a final-round 72.
 
“I struggled today and didn’t feel as comfortable over the ball and didn’t hit it great, but felt it was important to be the best teammate I could to Emma. She played really well and I know my energy reflects back on her, so I knew it was going to be important to not get too down on myself,” Curran said Wednesday. “It’s a crazy game and can change whenever.”
 
“It was a blast [playing with Kellar and Lillie],” said Carpenter. “This is my third or fourth tournament of the summer and with our current situation, I’m grateful to be playing competitive golf and happy to be out here. [Ledwein and Welch] played awesome today and definitely deserved the win. Sometimes the putts don’t really fall and it’s the way it goes.”
 
Despite an early end to their freshman seasons when the NCAA shutdown this spring, Carpenter and Curran, both soon-to-be sophomores from Illinois, hope to carry the success from their respective summer schedules back to campus this fall, however the season may look.
 
“I know [Curran] had an awesome summer and we felt pretty good about the way we played and hope to carry that momentum into the fall,” Carpenter said. “Under the circumstances, to stay as focused as we have this summer, and really to keep grinding it out and stay focused on our goals—we hope to carry that into the fall season.”
 
“I’m super excited for the fall,” said Curran, who claimed the Golfweek Midwest Collegiate at Purdue University’s Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Ind., on Friday. “This was a great summer for us and our teammates. It’ll be great to get back together and put it all together and work as a team again.”
 
Kellar and Lillie got off to a rocky start Wednesday by taking bogey on the opening hole, but would battle on the front nine to regain a share of the lead with a birdie at the eighth. Turning at 4-under and even with Ledwein and Welch, Kellar and Lillie couldn’t keep pace, tallying a pair of birdies with a bogey on the final hole to shoot a final-round 72 to finish three shots back at 5-under 141.
 
Olivia Herrick, who has nine women’s state four-ball titles to her credit, and partner Paige McCullough posted a final-round 69 to finish in fourth place at 142, while the defending champion team of sisters Stephanie and Leah Herzog finished fifth at 2-under 144.


 


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