Sarah Gallagher took an early 4-up lead, then withstood a late rally by Brenda Corrie Kuehn to win the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, 1 up, on Thursday at Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Gallagher, a financial planner from Canton, Ga., won the second through fifth holes with birdies Her lead was cut to two through 14 holes, though she was 3 up with three holes to play. Kuehn won the 16th with a par and the 17th with a birdie, before each bogeyed the par-4 18th to give Gallagher the victory.
Has it set in yet, that she won a USGA championship, she was asked? “No,” she said. “I don’t know, probably when I get home, see my husband and kids, I think.
“I hit the ball really, really well. And I putted quite well. I think having a lot of confidence in the number that I had into the green because Erin [Packer, her caddie] is so good at just providing all the information, allowed me to make good club choices. So I was in the right spots. My misses were in the right spots, too, which was important.”
Kuehn, from Asheville, N.C., is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame, who despite a sparkling resume came into this championship and its final with no expectations, she said.
“None. Truly none,” she said following her semifinal match. “I wanted to just come and compete.” She accomplished that, but ultimately was in too deep a hole to overcome.
“You know you have a choice,” Kuehn said. “You have to just go out there and hit the best shot you can. She played great. I mean, she did not give a whole lot of opportunities. When I hit a couple times in there for birdie, she knocked it to three feet. So it was hard.
“I want to tell you, when you’re dormie, there’s pressure there on you, almost more so on me because I’m done, but on her she has to keep it in play. So I felt that if I just kept hitting it in play, I had to force her to keep playing as she did the first, whatever, 15 holes.”
Both players receive exemptions into the 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Open. Kuehn likely will be joined in the Women’s Amateur by daughter Rachel, a fifth-year senior and All-American at Wake Forest, who is 10th in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
This article was originally published on golfdigest.com