Shooting 68 on Final Day, Ledwein Surges to Second MGA Women's Amateur Title

July 29, 2022
By Nick Hunter

  ROCHESTER, Minn. – Entering Friday’s final round of the 2022 Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship four shots off the lead, Taylor Ledwein fired a tournament-low 3-under 68 at Rochester Golf and Country Club, to come from behind and claim her second win at the event in five seasons.

The former Bradley University golfer started quick with a pair of birdies to narrow the deficit and would take the lead for good with two more birdies during her final nine, defeating 36-hole leader Leah Skaar and 2019 champion Kathryn VanArragon by three strokes.

“I don’t think it’s set in yet that I’ve actually won the [State Amateur] twice. If you would’ve told me in high school that I’d win twice, I wouldn’t believe you," Ledwein said after her round Friday. "I believe in my game a lot more now and I believe in the player that I am. A lot more confidence.

“You never really think that you’re out of it, but Leah, Kathryn and Aayushi are all great players, and I knew I had to put up a number if I wanted to even be in contention. I told myself from hole one that I’m going to have to go low.”

Ledwein entered the week with one win to her credit already this season, defeating Skaar in the final match of the MGA Women’s Amateur Match Play Championship at Burl Oaks Golf Club in June.

Friday’s result marks the first multiple-win season for Ledwein since 2018, when she claimed the MGA Women’s Amateur Match Play at Faribault Golf Club, the MGA Women’s Amateur Championship at White Bear Yacht Club and the MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Crow River Golf Club.

Starting quickly with birdies at the first and fifth holes gave Ledwein the outright lead at 4-over, but she would fall into a share of the lead with Aayushi Sarkar with her only blemish of the final round, a bogey at the seventh, to drop 5-over for the championship.

Ledwein would take the lead for good by converting her birdie chance at the par-4 10th and added one final birdie to create separation from the field by moving to 3-over.

The 2020 MGA Women’s Player of the Year got some help from her putter down the stretch, making critical par saves from five to eight feet on consecutive holes beginning at the 14th.

A two-putt par at the last put Ledwein at 3-over 216 to become the first two-time winner of the event since former Michigan State University golfer Sarah Burnham’s wins in 2012 and 2016.

“I thought I played really solid and today is how I wanted to play all three days coming into the week. Hit fairways and hit greens. Fortunate to win—when the easy birdie putts don’t go in, but longer par putts go in, it makes it that much better.”

Falling to Ledwein for a second time this season, Skaar couldn’t bounce back from her rocky start to the final round, shooting 5-over through her first five holes.

The North Dakota State University junior battled back into contention by sinking two birdie chances over her next 12 holes, but a bogey at the last would give Skaar a final-round 74 to come up three shots short at 6-over 219.

“I was able to stay steady with some pars and a couple birdies, but not much was going my way,” said Skaar, who entered with a one-stroke lead before bogey-double-bogey stretch beginning at the third dropped her to 7-over. “That’s just not the type of golf that I’ve been playing. I wasn’t hitting anything close, so it was hard to make those 20-footers—you can’t expect much.

“It was a very good tournament and a good learning experience, but pretty disappointing. I know I can play with the best players out here.”

VanArragon also struggled in the early going during Friday’s final round, carding three bogeys over her first six holes to drop to 6-over for the championship.

Back-to-back birdies at the 11th and 12th holes put the 2022 Class AAA individual medalist and University of St. Thomas commit back in contention at 4-over, but a three-putt bogey at the 15th dashed her chances. She would post a final-round 74 to finish tied for second at 219.

Steady through her first 16 holes, Sarkar moved within one shot of the lead after sinking a 40-foot birdie putt at the 17th, but hit her approach out of bounds at the final hole, leading to a triple-bogey. She would finish fourth at 7-over 220.

In the First Flight, University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Abbey Filipiak carded a 9-over 80 during Wednesday’s opening round and would cruise to a six-stroke victory Thursday by posting an 11-over 82 to earn medalist honors at 20-over 162.

 

Nick Hunter

Nick Hunter is entering his tenth season covering golf in Minnesota as news editor for the MGA's website. He resides in New Prague with his wife, Amber, and two sons.

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