Top Seeds Advance in Sr. Women's Am; Peterson Loses 1 Down
September 13, 2021
POINT CLEAR, Ala. -- Lara Tennant won her 13th consecutive match in the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur on Sunday. The two-time defending champion trailed when she made the turn to the back nine at The Lakewood Club's Dogwood Course, but she won four of the next eight holes and claimed a 2&1 victory over Tina Barker.
That result reversed a trend that emerged in USGA events this summer -- No. 64 seeds knocking off No. 1 seeds. It happened in the Women's Amateur, the Men's Amateur and the Senior Men's Amateur. And when Barker won the seventh hole (310 yards, par 4) with a birdie and the par-3 eighth with a par to take a 1-up lead, it appeared the trend might continue.
But Tennant, a 54-year-old former University of Arizona star from Portland, won the 10th and 11th holes with pars. Barker leveled the match once again when she won the par-3 13th (159 yards) with a par, before Tennant reclaimed the lead with par at the 15th, and she closed out the match with a birdie at the other back-nine par 3, the 17th.
During the two days of stroke-play qualifying, Tennant shot 72-71--143, which tied her with Gigi Higgins (74-69--143) for medalist honors. Higgins, who got the No. 2 seed, escaped the USGA's 2021 Medalist Curse, as well. She beat No. 63 Jennifer Hoyt 4&3 on Sunday.
The player with the most impressive credentials in this field, Ellen Port, the No. 3 seed, also won comfortably. Port, a 59-year-old from St. Louis who has won three Senior Women's Am titles, plus four Women's Mid-Amateur championships, dismissed No. 62 Angie Whitley Coleman 5&4. (Port also won a men's tournament this summer -- the St. Louis Metropolitan Senior Championship.)
Tennant won this tournament for the first time in 2018, when she beat Sue Wooster 3&2 in the final. The same two players met in the 2019 final, and the result was the same, Tennant winning 3&2 over Wooster. They didn't get a chance to renew their rivalry last year, because there was no Senior Women's Am, a victim of the Covid 19 pandemic, and Wooser, the No. 15 seed, won't get another crack at the final this year. The 57-year-old two-time Australian Senior Women's Amateur champ was beaten 3&2 by No. 50 Louella Kanew.
Adele Peterson, 58, was the only Minnesotan to be among the 64 players who advanced from the 36 holes of stroke play qualifying into the match play portion of the tournament. But the former Tulsa All-American lost 1 down to Karen Garcia.
Garcia, the No. 11 seed, birdied the 333-yard, par-4 11th hole and won the par-3 13th to take a 2-up lead into the last five holes. Peterson (No. 54) rallied, winning the 15th with a par and the par-5 16th (444 yards) with a birdie to square the match, but Garcia reclaimed the advantage by winning the par-3 17th with a par. She and Peterson both parred the 18th.
U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
At The Lakewood Club -- Dogwood Course
Par 72, 5,719 yards
Point Clear, Ala.
Stroke-play results (the top 64 advance to match play)
1. Lara Tennant, Eugene, Ore. 72-71--143
2. Gigi Higgins, Cape Coral, Fla. 74-68--143
3. Ellen Port, St. Louis 73-72--145
4,. Susan Cohn, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 71-75--146
T5. Kathy Hartwiger, Birmingham, Ala. 69-78--147
T5. Amy Ellertson, Free Union, Va. 70-77-147
T50. Adele Peterson, Eden Prairie 76-84--160
What it took -- 163 (4 players for last 3 spots)
Brenda Williams, Minnetrista 84-83--167
Betsy Aldrich, Minnetonka 89-84--173
Round of 64
(1) Lara Tennant, Portland def. Tina Barker, Fairfield, Conn. 2&1
(2) Gigi Higgins, Cape Coral, Fla. def. Jennifer Hoyt, Horseshoe Bay, Texas 4&3
(3) Ellen Port, St. Louis def. Angie Whitley Coleman, Wilmington, Del. 5&4
(11) Karen Garcia, Cool, Calif. def. Adele Peterson, Eden Prairie 1 up