The 75th MWGA Amateur Championship was played at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton, MO during July 9-11th, 2013. This annual championship is 54 holes of stroke play, and this year’s set up was 5,677 yards with par of 71. Due to extreme heat index forecasts, caddies were allowed to ride in carts with their players so there would be little chance of heat related injuries.
Old Kinderhook was well defended this week with greens stimping around eleven. Decorated amateur and defending Champion Ellen Port, shot an even par 71 with three birdies and three bogeys, giving her the first round lead by two strokes over 2011 Champion Catherine Dolan (73). Dolan had recently taken a nine month hiatus from golf, resuming her play at the Women’s Amateur Public Links where she qualified for match play for the second year in a row. Indiana State Junior McCall Christopher played a stellar round, carding a 73 for the day. Katrina Choate’s hiatus from golf after graduating Drury didn’t seem to faze the 2010 Amateur runner up as she trailed by only three shots. Southern Illinois University – Carbondale recruit Brooke Cusumano carded a 78 with Mizzou’s Laura Kraft shooting 79.
Overnight rains didn’t slow down the greens at Old Kinderhook, as they maintained a quick pace for the state’s best amateurs. Round two was “moving day” for the field…. Ellen Port (St. Louis) found difficulty hitting anything close to the hole… “I just wasn’t as sharp as I have been with my irons…. I hit great putts, but I didn’t give myself many chances today”. Port’s 77 opened the door for the Catherine Dolan (Ballwin) who had apparently mastered the art of “up and down”, coming home with even par 71 to finish round two on top. Quietly pursuing the leaders was Katrina Choate…. The Drury University star has concentrated the past year on her new career, with very little time for practice or golf. “I think that’s why I’m playing so well… I’ve had a rest, and I’m in a good place as far as golf is concerned. I really have nothing to lose, so I’m just playing and having a good time”. Choate’s 72 pulled her into second place while McCall Christopher posted another 73 to stay within 2 shots of the lead. Brooke Cusumano continued her good run by shooting 75, giving her a good chance at the Low Junior Peg Ludlow trophy.
The day began with Dolan leading by two over Indiana State’s McCall Christopher and Drury alumnus Katrina Choate. Port was trailing by four strokes and finished two over while Christopher and Choate faltered on the back nine…. Dolan’s first two holes gave her six footers for par which she followed with a bogey and two pars. Making a birdie on hole six put her back at even for the day, which settled her down. Surprisingly, Catherine had never played Old Kinderhook before, and loved what she saw, especially the greens. Dolan made the turn at +2, adding bogeys on 11,13 and 15 to finish with a final round 76 (220). Port’s birdies on 11 and 14 were followed by a three putt bogey on 15. Ellen’s birdie on 18 gave the final round a photo finish and came close to winning her ninth crown.
Dolan’s victory gives her a second Amateur title, having won in 2011 at Bellerive Country Club along with Medalist honors with her first two round total of 144. When asked about her play, Catherine said, “ I didn’t have my best today, and I was a little nervous not knowing what Ellen was doing ahead of me. But I couldn’t control that, so I just hung in there.” A professional career is next for Dolan after this season of amateur golf. She will represent Missouri along with Alisha Matthews and Stephany Powell at the USGA Women’s State Team Championship in Ohio during September 17-19th at the NCR Country Club.
Ellen Port received the Cassett Trophy for Amateur Runner Up (221). Third place was awarded to McCall Christopher of Lee’s Summit (226) and fourth was presented to Katrina Choate of Fenton, MO (227). The Peg Ludlow Trophy for low Junior total score was presented to St. Louis native Brooke Cusumano for her three day score of 232 and finished in fifth place overall. Missouri Golf alumnus Kelly Osborne of Ballwin took sixth place with her total of 236.
*Top players from the Amateur are eligible for the Missouri Fore State Team, which will be announced soon. The Fore State Team Championship is a Ryder Cup style match play competition with Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas competing each year. Missouri will be the host for this year’s competition being held at Twin Hills Country Club on August 1-2nd, 2013.
**The MWGA would like to express our sincere appreciation to the staff and members of Old Kinderhook Golf Resort for hosting the 75th Amateur Championship. The course set up and condition was beyond compare as a result of the hard work from Rusty Fuller, Greens Superintendent and his staff. Many thanks to Josh Crowell, PGA Golf Professional and Director of Operations for his support to our staff throughout weeks and months leading up to and at the Amateur. We appreciate the efforts of Jean and Tom Duncan who coordinated shuttles and volunteers during the week. We had such a wonderful experience at the Old Kinderhook Golf Resort, we’ll be returning in 2014 for the Two Lady Scramble during May 13-14th!*