PINEHURST, N.C. (July 22, 2007)-- Unseasonably mild conditions greeted the finalists at the 105th North & South Women’s Amateur Sunday morning. As defending champion Jenny Suh, of Fairfax, VA, took her stance at the first tee, one could not help but notice the chill in the air, quite rare for July in the Sandhills Region of North Carolina. As she struck her first tee shot down the center of the Donald Ross molded fairway of the famed Pinehurst No. 2, she was on the brink of accomplishing something else rare, holding the title at the North & South Women’s Amateur for consecutive years. She was only one match away from defending her 2006 victory. Following her at the first tee, however, was the competitor that would hold Suh one match shy of the accomplishment, Alison Walshe, of Westford, MA.
Uncharacteristic of the defending champion, Suh struggled a bit out of the gates, and from the start of the match, Walshe took control. A par 4 at the opening hole gave Walshe an advantage she would never surrender.
Consistent play through the first six holes gave Walshe a boost of confidence, and she quickly found herself 4-up through the first seven holes of a match scheduled for 36. Suh gathered herself and responded at the 8th hole with a fine up-and-down from the short side of the green at the tricky par-5. The players halved the 9th hole and stepped to the 10th tee, Walshe with a three-hole advantage.
The back nine holes of the morning had Suh showing signs of rebounding with the caliber of play seen in her run through match play this year. After losing the 10th hole to a stellar Walshe birdie, she won the 13th and 18th holes to close the gap to only two holes. It seemed the momentum had shifted by way of the defending champ.
Following the lunch break, Suh stepped to the first tee for the second time of the day, for the 19th hole of the match.
Executing to perfection led to a six-foot uphill birdie putt to ride the momentum gained late in the morning. Suh calmly made the putt, erasing nearly all of the four-hole disadvantage she found herself with only seven holes ago. Suh and Walshe traded pars at the next two holes. Neither players hit the fairway at the par-5 4th hole, but both were able to negotiate the hole and reach the green in regulation. What took place in the next 30 minutes would be the turning point in the match.
Walshe made birdie at the 4th to get back to a 2-up advantage, then birdied the difficult 5th and 6th holes to complete a birdie
hat-trick and take a 4-up advantage to the tee at the 25th.
With no signs of giving up, Suh responded immediately with a birdie of her own at the 25th and would make the turn to the final nine holes at three holes down.
Continuing to fight, she made another birdie at the 30th hole to get back to 2-down and
could still see hope in defending. The players would halve the next two holes and step to the tee at the 33rd hole with a Walshe 2-up advantage. Suh miscued and found the greenside bunker at the par 3, and Walshe hit the green.
After Suh failed to save par, Walshe two-putted to go 3-up with only three to play. A pair of pars at the 34th hole equaled the final
tally, Walshe victorious 3 & 2 over Suh.