VERO BEACH, FL (June 19, 2016) -- After advancing through four matches, Emma Albrecht and Sophie Liu stood on the first tee Sunday afternoon ready to determine the Champion in the final match. Emma came out hot winning each of the first five holes. She won with a par on holes one through four and birdied the par three fifth hole to get to five-up. Sophie, 2015 Girls’ Junior Champion, tried to gain some ground with a birdie on the seventh hole, but Emma fired back with a birdie on the eighth hole. Emma would start the final nine holes at six-up. Although Sophie won two holes, 10 and 13, on the back-nine with pars, she could not overcome Emma’s lead. The match ended on the 14th hole with a five and four victory for Emma Albrecht!
Emma explains her first FSGA Championship victory as surreal. She stated, “My hard work paid off and I felt confident going into the tournament and just kept that mentality throughout the week”. It was a great Father’s Day for her dad who was with her through every shot as her caddy. Besides summer classes, Albrecht plans to try to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur before her sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame starts. Reflecting on her first year in college Emma stated that she had a “solid freshman year, made it to regionals as a team, and accomplished goals”.
With scattered showers and wind, the Semifinal matches started promptly at 7:30 AM Sunday morning. The first match, of Sophie Liu, the 32 seed who made match play in a six way playoff, and Ayaka Nakayama made it all the way to 18 before a winner was determined. The match stood all square through three holes until Liu took the lead with a birdie on #4 to stay one up through five. The match continued back and forth until Nakayama won the 10th hole to stay one up through 12. A par on the long par 5 14th gave Liu the chance she needed to bring the match back to all square where it stood until the final hole. Nakayama found herself behind a tree on the final hole, leaving Liu to make an easy par and punch her ticket into the Championship match.
Birdies on holes 2, 4 and 8 brought Emma Albrecht into an early lead against Nicolette Donovan, leaving her three up at the turn and with good momentum heading into their 10th hole. Donovan didn't back down, birdying the par 4 10th and bringing her back to only two down. However, a bogie on the highest handicap hole, par 4 eleventh, brought Donovan back to three down. Continuing to the par 5 14th, Albrecht stuck her approach shot and sunk the birdie putt leaving the match dormie heading into the 15th. Donovan continued her fight, birdying the 15th after an impressive bunker shot, forcing Albrecht to sink her birdie putt to close out the match. Consistent on the greens, Albrecht sunk her putt and made her way to the finals by winning 4 & 3 over Donovan.
Afternoon Quarterfinal matches began in very similar conditions as the morning. However, the threat of afternoon thunder showers would once again bring upon windy conditions for players on Bent Pine's Back 9.
Sophie Liu and Hannah Berman battled back and forth throughout their Quarterfinal match. All square after #14, Liu and Berman would remain tied until the 17th hole, where Berman would card bogey to make Liu go 1 Up, heading to 18. Both players cleanly made par, advancing Liu to the Semifinal matches on Sunday morning.
Central Florida's Ayaka Nakayama, who advanced from her morning match 3 & 1, would be matched with Mississippi's Katie Holt in the afternoon. Another close match was in the works, and Nakayama and Holt found themselves all square through 15. With a birdie on 16, and a par to Holt's bogey on 17, Nakayama was able to advance to the Semifinals 2&1 over Holt.
Nakayama and Liu will compete in the 7:30 AM match in the Semifinals.
Emma Albrecht and Alyssa Lamorueux found themselves off to a different start than some of the other matches. Albrecht birdied the first three holes of the match to go 3 Up over Lamoureux, and the match would stand as such through the completion of the front nine. Once they made the turn, Albrecht would then go on to win the 10th and 11th hole to go 5 Up. Fighting for a comeback, Lamoureux would win the 12th and 14th holes with birdies, but could not hold on to advance. Albrecht would go on to take the match 3&2.
Nicolette Donovan and Annie Kim round out the group of Quarterfinal matches, at yet another close and competitive match. Donovan would win the 2nd and 9th hole to go 2 Up, but Kim would win the 12th and 17th to bring it back to all square. As the match was about to head to #18, weather once again would put play on hold. Both players returned early Sunday morning to resume their match at 7:00 AM. It was a fight to the death between the two fierce opponents, with Donovan sinking a 15 footer to save par and continue on to extra holes. It took 24 holes for a player to falter, Annie carded a bogie while Nicolette made par to capture the last spot in the Semifinals.
ROUND OF 16
The Round of 16 began early Saturday morning. Conditions were calm with minimal wind and familliar hot temperatures. Three out of the eight matches went extra holes, including the match between Andie Shukow and Katie Holt, who went 20 holes in her previous match. Holt was able to once again advance to head to the Quarterfinals.
Sophie Liu, who finished her Round of 32 match early on Saturday morning, was able to defeat Mary Janiga of Wellington 7&6.
Reagan Jahn and Hannah Berman took the prize for the longest match yet, going 21 holes, with Berman advancing.
Alyssa Lamoureux, last year's runner-up, was able to advance from her Round of 16 match against Taylor Roberts 5&4. Lamoureux was then matched up against Notre Dame's own Emma Albrecht in the Quarterfinals, who defeated Georgia Oboh 3&2 in the Round of 16.
ROUND OF 32
The Round of 32 began around 4:30 in the afternoon on Friday after the weather delay. Temperatures cooled down dramatically from morning stroke play qualifying, and had hardly any wind. Anastasia Carter and Katie Holt went the longest out of the matches, going 20 holes until Holt was able to beat out her opponent.
Several of the matches were close, and finished on 18. All matches were able to finish before dark, except for the match between 1 seed Alexa Popowitz and 32 seed Sophie Liu, which concluded after the 6th hole. Popowitz and Liu would return early on Saturday morning to eventually go 19 holes, with Liu advancing to the Round of 16.
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