Ledwein and NDSU's Skaar to Meet in Finals at MGA Women's Match Play

June 22, 2022
By Nick Hunter

  MINNETRISTA, Minn. – A string of four consecutive birdies to begin her semifinal match Wednesday at Burl Oaks Golf Club helped lift 2018 champion Taylor Ledwein to the finals of the 2022 Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Amateur Match Play Championship.

North Dakota State University golfer Catherine Monty pulled within one of Ledwein late Wednesday, but the former Bradley University standout dropped a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to close out her match, 2 and 1.

“I really wanted to be back in the finals since winning it in 2018,” Ledwein said Wednesday. “I fist-pumped, which I never do, but it shows just how much I wanted the chance to win it again."

“I had some errant shots and my putter went cold for a little bit. I missed some three to five-foot putts to give up some holes, but I never doubted myself. I had to make some putts on the last few holes and that built the confidence back up, seeing them go in.”

Ledwein will face another North Dakota State golfer in Leah Skaar, who defeated the University of Minnesota’s Leah Herzog during the semifinals, 2-up.

Beginning her semifinal match at the 10th hole Wednesday, Ledwein rolled in nearly 25 feet worth of putts in a four-hole span, carding four birdies to jump in front of Monty quickly.

Monty took advantage of bogeys by Ledwein at the 17th and first, to cut the deficit in half before Ledwein’s bogey at the fifth shrunk her lead over Monty to just one. Finding the middle of the green at the par-4 eighth, Ledwein buried her birdie chance to secure her spot in the finals against Skaar.

“I need to keep hitting fairways and greens and getting good looks,” Ledwein said looking ahead to Thursday’s final match against Skaar.

Ledwein, the No. 1 seed this week, earned a first-round bye before rallying late during her Round of 16 match against 2020 MGA Women’s Senior Amateur champion Adele Peterson.

Facing University of Nebraska-Omaha golfer Maddie Simon during Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, Ledwein carded a pair of birdies late on her front nine and cruised to victory, 7 and 6, to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2020.

Since graduating from Bradley in 2020, Ledwein attempted LPGA Qualifying School, while keeping her amateur status. She has claimed back-to-back MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball titles the past two seasons with partner Megan Welch.

“Working full-time, I practice a lot less and I don’t play 18 holes a lot” Ledwein said. “On Saturday or Sunday, I might go out and play 18 with people from my club. But when I do find the time to practice, it’s very focused and purposeful."

In a back-and-forth match against former Ms. Minnesota Golf winner Herzog, Skaar won her 14th and 15th holes to take a late 2-up lead but gave Herzog the par-3 seventh with a bogey and would keep a slim, 1-up lead to the last.

Sticking her approach within 10 feet at the ninth, Skaar’s birdie putt was eventually conceded to advance to the finals with her fourth win of the week.

“I had a really good day on the greens. I was able to make some putts that broke a lot,” Skaar said Wednesday. “These greens are pretty difficult and my speed control was good throughout the day. I made some nice birdies coming in."

“You have to stay below the hole—the downhill putts just keep going. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep putting well and play smart on the greens.”

Skaar, who completed her sophomore season for the Bison this spring, faced recent Stillwater High School graduate Caroline Monty during Wednesday’s early round and carded three birdies over her first seven holes to take a 3-up lead to her back nine.

Taking advantage of a Skaar bogey at the first, Monty pulled within two but a steady Skaar posted consecutive pars over her final six holes to close out the match at the seventh, 4 and 2.

The championship match of the 2022 MGA Women’s Amateur Championship is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. at Burl Oaks Golf Club.
 

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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