Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship Round Three

The Championship continues to play out at the Historic Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield. Match Play begins today.

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Plum Hollow Country Club, Southfield, MI — June 12, 2024

If you have been following us this week, you know we have been reporting on the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship at Plum Hollow Golf Club. The five-day event is split into two rounds of stroke play, completed Tuesday, that cut the field of 82 golfers to 32. Then the format changes.

Match Play

Today was the first day of match play. Where 16 players advanced and 16 went home. Sounds like a brutal way to compete. It is. How many strokes it takes to sink the ball into the cup is only relevant to how many it takes your opponent to accomplish the same task.

Match play scoring is by hole, so even though you make a double bogey, if the golfer you are matched against makes a triple bogey, you win the hole and go 1-up in the match. Throw the strokes away, they are irrelevant at that point.

In stroke play, if you blow up one hole and take a quadruple bogey, it weighs heavily on you for the rest of the tournament. Those strokes never go away. Birdies or better will bring your total score back closer to par. But you cannot ignore those four extra strokes.

If you have a bad hole during match play, it is easier to move forward. Just better your opponent on the next hole, and the match is back to even or all-square. You win when you have scored better on the number of holes that exceed the number left to play.

For example; if you have won three holes and your opponent has won one after completing 16 holes. They would have to score better on the next two holes to even the match. If you both post the same score on the 17th, the match is over. It is scored 3 and 1. You are three holes up with 1 to play.

So, you can see how this changes the dynamic of the competition. This is why the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) conducts this tournament in a combined format manner. The prestige of hosting the trophy and having your name inscribed on it is enhanced by the winner receiving an exemption into the 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.

It is truly an honor to be one of the 32 best women golfers in Michigan. It is an extraordinary accomplishment to advance through match play to the final one vs one matchup for the title.

The Personal Aspect of the Competition

We asked the GAM staff if they could provide a demographic breakdown of the final 32 players. A quick estimate tallied six women past college age, two high schoolers, and 24 young women who compete on college teams (not official stats-privacy concerns).

These college-age young women all know each other, compete frequently against each other, and, while all want to win, they have a collective appreciation of each other. Now they are dropped into a situation where they must eliminate each other to earn a significant personal reward. A very interesting dynamic, to say the least.

The Big Three from The Big Ten

Again if you followed our reporting yesterday, you know we focused on three girls from Big Ten schools playing in the same threesome. All three qualified for match play, and all three posted the same 36-hole total score. Two of the girls are best friends. Kate Brody and Shannon Kennedy. There was the possibility that ties in the standing meant two of them could have been paired against each other today.

That did not happen, but parings revealed the closeness of the group dynamic. You have to read the story to fully understand. So how did “The Big Three from The Big Ten” fare?

First to tee off, Grace Wang, a University of Michigan team member, faced Mia Melendez of Ann Arbor. Not U of M but Greenhills College Prep School. Mia was one of three leaders on day one. Her second round was more of a challenge, but she qualified with the same two-day score as Grace.

Results: Mia won the first three holes and never looked back, winning 5 and 4.

Kate Brody faced Bridget Boczar in a rematch of their playoff in last year’s Golf Association of Michigan’s 33rd Women’s Championship. It was a classic duel on the front nine as the advantage flipped between both players on multiple holes. Bridget went 1-up on the fourth, but the hole-by-hole battle continued to the 12th before Bridget doubled the advantage.

Results: Bridget 5 and 3.

Shannon Kennedy teed off in the second-to-last match of the day against Rachael Krieger. Rachael is a two-time MHSAA Regional Champion currently playing on the Saginaw Valley State Golf Team.

Shannon went 1-up on the first hole. Back to all-square on the fourth. Again 1-up on the fifth, followed by 2-up after 11. Dropped to 1-up on the 12th. Hole wins on 13 and 14 gave Shannon a 3-up advantage. Rachael won holes 15 and 16, returning her to 1-down with two holes to play. Identical scores on 17 and 18 finished the match.

Results: Shannon 1-up

Excruciating for a 3-day vested observer. Unbelievable pressure for a competitor.

Tomorrow’s Action and The Course Feature

We promised a feature on Plum Hollow. We beg you to come back tomorrow. We will continue to update the match play on Thursday and Friday. The 16 remaining golfers will be reduced to four as matches are scheduled for morning and afternoon. Like we said, brutal.

Here are the pairings for tomorrow morning.

Time Players

 

“Plum Hollow recently completed a renovation project on its original 1921 C.H. Alison-designed golf course. Toledo-based architect Drew Rogers completed work that the club feels honored the original design intent. It included changes involving bunkers, tees, the creation of more shot options on several holes and improved drainage and turf.” (Courtesy of https://gam.org/)

There is more to that story. Here is a glimpse of what we have enjoyed observing the past three days.

The Par-3 12th hole is just one of the incredible views at Plum Hollow. A Southern Michigan (Southfield) course with all the terrain changes that are more commonly found up North. / Lasco Press Photo