Thothong, Gilbreth lead at Women's Texas Amateur
Megan Thothong
Megan Thothong
WACO, Texas — A pair of University of Houston Cougars set the pace Monday during the Qualifying Round of the 94th WTGA State Amateur Championship at scenic Ridgewood Country Club.

Megan Thothong, an 18-year-old UH sophomore from Dallas, posted 4-under-par 68 to take medalist honors during the first round’s 18-hole Qualifying Round. Her teammate Emily Gilbreth, a 20-year-old junior, shot 3-under 69 to finish as the runner-up. Led by Thothong and Gilbreth, the Houston Women’s Golf team finished 13th at the NCAA Regionals this year in the program’s first full season of existence.

“Our coach Gerrod Chadwell says ‘Iron sharpens iron,’” said Thothong, who made an eagle and three birdies to offset a lone bogey. “This is great for our team. It shows that we’re still working hard on our games in the offseason.”

Thothong knocked a hybrid to 5 feet and rolled in the eagle putt on the 430-yard par-5 15th hole after sinking birdies on the ninth, 11th and 12th holes. Her only bogey came on the 383-yard, par-4 16th.

“I feel pretty good,” Thothong said. “I had the mindset of going out and going as low as possible. I’m excited for the rest of the week because I love match play.”

Gilbreth was 1-under through 17 holes when she threaded a hybrid to 3 feet on Ridgewood’s 533-yard par-5 finishing hole. She tapped in the eagle putt and became the clubhouse leader at 3-under. That lasted about 15 minutes—until Thothong posted her 68.

“I’ve known Megan since I was 8 years old,” said Gilbreth, who was the first to sign a letter of intent with the UH Women’s Golf team in 2012. “This is the third or fourth time she’s done that to me. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love her, and this says a lot about our team.”

TCU junior Kelly McGovern finished in third place at 2-under 70. The Woodlands native finished as the runner-up to Portland Rosen in the 93rd WTGA State Am. A third member of the UH Women’s Golf team, Maddy Rayner from Southlake, finished tied for fourth with three others in the Qualifying Round.

In all, the top 32 players qualified for the Championship Flight in the 94th WTGA State Amateur’s subsequent match play bracket. Kristin Glesne, a freshman at Iowa from San Antonio, and Grace Choi, a freshman at Michigan from Dallas, survived a six-hole, seven-way playoff for the 31st and 32nd spots, respectively, in the coveted Championship Flight.

The remaining competitors in the 90-player filed enter one of four other flights based on each player’s GHIN Handicap Index. The first round of match play begins Tuesday at 8 a.m. at Ridgewood CC.

Carolyn Creekmore, the 2004 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion from Dallas, earned the Senior Medalist honors. The 2010 Texas Golf Hall of Fame inductee shot 4-over 76 for a share of 17th place overall. Creekmore won the 1995 WTGA State Amateur at the Woodlands CC.

Annika Clark from Highlands, a freshman at TCU, won the Junior Medalist honors for players under the age of 17 by the tournament’s start. Clark, who celebrates her 18th birthday on Tuesday, shot 2-over 74 for 11th place.

Seven players broke par in the Qualifying Round on the 6,061-yard, par-72 Ridgewood CC course. On a sun-soaked day with 90-degree temperatures and slight breezes, Ridgewood CC played to a stroke average of 81.3. Thirty-one universities and colleges are represented in the field this week, including six from the Big 12 Conference.

This is the fifth time Ridgewood has hosted the WTGA State Amateur, dating back to 1957. It last hosted the state’s oldest women’s amateur championship in 2009, when Huntsville’s Stacy Dennis won her second Amateur title. Dennis, now Managing Director for the TGA, is part of the leadership staff that is conducting this year’s WTGA State Amateur.

Established in 1947, Ridgewood sits on a beautiful piece of rolling, wooded land that overlooks Lake Waco. With small, pushed-up greens and tree-lined fairways, Ridgewood looks once again to be a welcoming host and demanding test for the best amateurs in Texas.

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