Medalist Peng Makes It to Round of 32 of Women's Mid-Am This Year; Most High Seeds Advance

September 19, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The second time was the charm, as it turned out, for Jennifer Peng. A year ago, she was the medalist at the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur with a record score of 136 (70-66) in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying part of the tournament, which was played at Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton, S.C. But then she lost to the No. 64 seed, Aliea Clark, in her first match. 

She had finished stroke play 23 shots ahead of Clark, who had to come back from a first-round 83 just to shoot 159 and then survive a 5-for-1 playoff for the 64th spot in match play. Nevertheless, Clark went on to reach the final before losing 5&4 to 2021 champion Blakesly Brock, the No. 27 seed. 

This year, Peng, a 26-year-old former Yale University golfer from San Diego, came within two strokes of tying her record on the Long Means Course at Fiddlesticks Country Club. She was the medalist again with a 71-67--138. On Monday, she lost the first two holes to No. 64 seed Connor Macon, but she came right back, winning the next two holes, and she went on to claim a 2&1 victory. 

In several of the USGA tournaments this summer, a recurring theme has been that "seedings don't matter." But they did Monday in the Women's Mid-Am. 

Round of 64 matches don't always go off on schedule. Things like playoffs tend to get in the way. This year, 14 players tied for 56th place, and they competed for nine spots in match play.

But the first 16 scheduled matches all went to the higher seeds, and in all, 26 of the 32 higher seeds won.

One of the exceptions was the No. 2 seed, Kelsey Chugg, the winner of this tournament in 2017. Having qualified with 139 (70-69), she was beaten in the first round by the No. 63 seed, Kate Scarpetta, who like Macon, qualified with a 155 (81-74). But on Monday Scarpetta birdied two of the first three holes, won three of the first four and ended up winning the 14th and 16th with pars to close out Chugg 3&2. 

The No. 3 seed, Katie Miller was tied with No. 62 Ashley Freeman after 15 holes, but won the 16th and 17th for a 2&1 victory.

As for the defending champ, Blakesly Brock, she's the No. 4 seed this year, and in her first-round match, she doubled the second hole and bogeyed the third to fall 2 down. But she won the last four holes on the front nine -- the sixth with a par, and the seventh through ninth with birdies -- and she won the 12th, 13th and 14th with pars to finish off No. 61 Taya Battistella 5&4.

The only other player among the top 14 seeds to lose, other than Chugg, was No. 10 Mallory Kane. She was 3 down to No. 55 Laine Evans after 15 holes, but fought back to win the 16th and 17th holes with pars, and she won the 492-yard, par-5 18th with a birdie, only to lose the match to Evans' birdie on the 460-yard, par-5 19th hole. 

Minnesota has been represented deep into USGA events in recent weeks. Most notably, Derek Hitchner, the former state high school champion from Blake -- and a member of Pepperdine's 2021 NCAA championship team -- made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur, and last week, 2022 MGA Mid-Players champ Bryce Hanstad and former University of Minnesota star Josh Persons (from Fargo) made it to the semis of the U.S. Men's Mid-Am.

But no one from -- or with any significant connection to -- Minnesota made to the match-play portion of the Women's Mid-Am. Olivia Herrick, the six-time -- and reigning -- MGA Women's Player of the Year, shot 83-84--167 in qualifying and missed the cut. And as a matter of fact, the five-state area has no representation in the Round of 32. The one player from Iowa who reached match play, Leanne Smith of Norwalk, the No. 53 seed, lost 1 down to No. 12 Tracy Martin of Wakefield, Mass., on Monday. And the one player from Wisconsin to make the Round of 64, No. 56 Kelly Specht of Madison, lost 3 down to Canadian Judith Kyrinis, the 2017 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur champ, and the No. 9 seed this week.   


U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur

At Fiddlestickls Country Club

Long Means Course

Par 72, 6,164 yards

Fort Myers, Fla. 

Stroke play (the top 64 advanced to match play)

Final results


1. Jennifer Peng                       71-67--138

2. Kelsey Chugg                       71-70--141

3. Katie Miller                            73-70--143

T4. Krissy Carman                    73-70--143

T4. Blakesly Brock                    70-73--143

6. Lauren Greenlief                    69-75--144

T7. Jacqueline Twitty                 73-72--145

T7. Gretchen Johnson                75-70--145

T7. Judith Kyrinis                        70-75--145

T10. Mallory Kane                      71-75--146

T10. Heather Wall                      75-71--146 

T10. Tracy Martin                       74-72--146

T10. Laura Bavaird                     75-71--146

T10. Jacqueline Setas                75-71--146

T10. Dawn Woodard                   74-72--146

T10. Clare Connolly                     77-69--146

Failed to advance -- 155 (14 played off for 9 spots at 155)

Olivia Herrick                              83-84--167


Match play

Round of 64


(1) Jennifer Peng def. (64) Connor Macon 2&1

(63) Kate Scarpetta def. (2) Kelsey Chugg 3&2

(3) Katie Miller def. (62) Ashley Freeman 2&1

(4) Blakesly Brock def. (61) Taya Battistella 5&4

(5) Krissy Carman def. (60) Kathy Hartwiger 3&1

(6) Lauren Greenlief def. (59) Susan Glasby 5&3

(7) Jacqueline Twitty def. (58) Sofia Castiello 7&6

(8) Gretchen Johnson def. (57) Sadie Strain 6&5

(9) Judith Kyrinis def. (56) Kiley Specht 3&2

(55) Laine Evans def. (10) Mallory Kane 19 holes 





 

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website, mngolf.org, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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