Kentucky's Marissa Wenzler runs bracket for Women's Western Amateur title

The groundwork for Marissa Wenzler's Women's Western Amateur run were laid during a COVID summer.

Kentucky's Marissa Wenzler runs bracket for Women's Western Amateur title

Marissa Wenzler wasn’t quite sure exactly what would happen when she arrived at her family reunion carting a giant Women’s Western Amateur trophy from a victory that was only a few hours old. After a final match against Oklahoma State’s Maddison Hinson-Tolchard that went two extra holes on Saturday at Park Ridge (Illinois) Country Club, that’s where the 20-year-old Kentucky sophomore was headed.

“I think everyone is going to be pretty excited,” she said. “I have a great support system, my family, friends, teammates, coaches, everyone.”

While the family gathering took off back home, Wenzler walked the fairways alone with her boyfriend Conor Stoly, a towering 6-foot-8-inch college basketball player (Stoly is transferring from Thomas Moore, a small school in Kentucky, to Ohio State, where he’ll play a year on the club team to transition). Stoly isn’t a golfer, but he showed a knack for reading greens at Park Ridge. That, and helping Wenzler deal with the nerves.

“He knows what it’s like to be in that competitive mode, that pressure situation,” Wenzler said. “I think that helped us to work together really well.”

Scores: Women’s Western Amateur

When Stoly agreed to accompany Wenzler to the tournament, she asked him to pick up the bag. That’s a job often reserved for Wenzler’s older brother Ryan, who has played on the Mackenzie and Latinoamerica tours. The siblings joked about what would happen if Wenzler were to win with Stoly on the bag. Despite the run at Park Ridge, big bro hasn’t lost his gig for later in the summer.

So much of what Wenzler learned at the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur and Ladies National Golf Association Amateur – she finished runner-up at the latter to gain entry to the former – have paved the way for the success she’s experienced since, particularly this week.

“To play on a big stage like that has really helped me with having all these people watch today or dealing with the stress of situations,” she said, “but that (LNGA) event is definitely what helped me get to where I am.”

In this week’s Women’s Western, the tests kept coming. Wenzler opened with rounds of 67-69 to win stroke-play medalist honors. The No. 1 seed on the bracket comes with a pressure all its own.

“You could be the one seed, you could be the 32 seed, it doesn’t matter in a tournament like this because all these girls here are amazing.”

She cruised through four matches until drawing Hinson-Tolchard, who won the Women’s Southern Amateur in match play earlier this summer, in the final. Wenzler had Hinson-Tolchard 2 down through two holes, but she looked at Stoly and told him that meant nothing.

“We’re all square,” she said. “Pretend we’re all square.”

After an eagle at the par-5 15th, Wenzler was once again 2 up entering the last three holes and feeling good. But then she mis-hit a drive that got her in trouble. A 20-footer for birdie on No. 17 helped Hinson-Tolchard keep herself in the match and when both players parred 18, they went to extra holes. Wenzler won with a 4-foot putt for par on No. 2 when Hinson-Tolchard lipped out her par putt.

Women’s Western Am

Marissa Wenzler on the final day at the Women’s Western Am at Park Ridge CC (Photo by Charles Cherney Photography)

Wenzler will take a break next week rather than defend her LNGA title. She’ll return to the U.S. Women’s Am in two weeks. In addition to making big gains in her game through last year’s play, a COVID summer also taught her to approach the game differently.

“I played (golf) for the love of it and that was all of last summer,” she said. “Fortunately, it led me to the Am which was amazing to be able to play in. That’s something I’ll never forget.”

Wenzler played her way into the Women’s Am through a one-day qualifier this time.

All week at the Western Am, Wenzler kept in touch with swing coach Kevin Jones – who also helps her keep her mental game in check. Jones’ cool, calm influence has been key in Wenzler’s success, but even Jones got keyed up the deeper Wenzler ventured into the Women’s Western bracket.

“The texts were like, ‘Awesome, good job, let’s get to work, let’s keep it going,’ and then today it was all like, ‘Let’s go!’”

Source : Golf Week More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Amundi Evian Championship: Jeongeun Lee6 stretches lead to five. Who can catch her?

One day after Jeongeun Lee6 matched the lowest round in major championship history with a 10-under 61, she was back making magic (...)

Amundi Evian Championship: Jeongeun Lee6 stretches lead to five. Who can catch her?

One day after Jeongeun Lee6 matched the lowest round in major championship history with a 10-under 61, she was back making magic happen with a wedge that spun back into the hole for eagle on the par-4 11th. The Saturday highlight bumped Lee6’s lead to five at the Amundi Evian Championship, the same margin she’d finish the day with after a 3-under 68.

Lee6, who celebrated that 61 with a Coke, is 18 under for the tournament. The 72-hole record for LPGA majors is 21 under, set by In Gee Chun in 2016. Actually, Lee6 looks to follow in the footsteps of Chun in more ways than one. Chun broke through with her first title at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open and made the Evian her second career victory the following year.

Lee6 captured the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston and looks to take her second title at the Evian, like Chun, by a record-setting margin.

“I’m waiting so much (for) second win,” said Lee6, “but this tournament is even the major tournament. If I win, I’ll be very happy. Huge honor.”

Of course, one doesn’t have to look back very far to see how quickly a five-shot lead can disappear. Lexi Thompson led the U.S. Women’s Open by five last month when she walked off the eighth green at The Olympic Club. Thompson didn’t it make it into the playoff, which was eventually won by Yuka Saso.

The largest come-from-behind victories at major championships came at the 2006 ANA Inspiration, won by Karrie Webb, and the 1983 LPGA Championship (now KPMG Women’s PGA), won by Patty Sheehan.

Three players have come from 10 strokes back in LPGA events: Mickey Wright, 1964 Tall City Open; Annika Sorenstam, 2001 The Office Depot; and Louise Friberg, 2008 MasterCard Classic.

The largest come-from-behind victories at the Evian belong to Anna Nordqvist (2017) and Angela Stanford (2018). Both were five shots back.

A look at the closest five chasing the player known as “Six”:

Source : Golf Week More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.