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Pano defeats Messana for second career Jones/Doherty title
Alexa Pano (USGA photo)
Alexa Pano (USGA photo)

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2019) – A week after a near-miss at the South Atlantic Amateur, Alexa Pano redeemed herself with a head-to-head victory over Marisa Messana in the championship match of the Ione D. Jones/Doherty Championship.

Pano, who won this tournament in 2017 as a 12-year-old, defeated Messana, a soon-to-be-pro who grew up in Ft. Lauderdale before going on to a standout career at Clemson, on the 18th hole. The Jones Doherty victory marks Pano’s second tournament title in the past month. She also won the Dixie Women’s Amateur to end December.

In the senior championship, Lisa Schlesinger defeated Terrill Samuel, 5 and 3. Samuel was a semifinalist at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, while Schlesinger won the 2008, 2009 and 2016 Maryland Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships and was the medalist in the 2011 and 2012 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.

The winner in the senior first flight was equally notable. M.J. Hiestand, winner of the Florida Women’s Senior Open and runner-up at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, defeated Andrea Kraus, 5 and 4.

In the senior second flight, Sylvie Van Molle defeated Maggie Brady, 6 and 5.

MATCH PLAY QUARTERFINALS

Marisa Messana defeated one prominent mid-amateur – also the defending champion – in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round of the Ione D. Jones/Doherty Championship only to draw another for the semifinals. Messana, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., local, took down four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi at Coral Ridge Country Club in a battle that went to the 18th hole. Messana, who will turn professional soon, eventually won, 2 up.

With that victory, Messana draws Courtney McKim, another talented mid-amateur who made it to the third round of match play at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. McKim earned her spot in the semifinal with a 6-and-4 defeat of Melissa Loh.

Alexa Pano, the Dixie Women’s Amateur champion and the 2017 Doherty winner, also is through to the semifinals. She will play Marie Arnoux, who took down Elle Nachmann, 3 and 2.

In the senior championship division, Lisa Schlesinger and Marilyn Hardy will face off on the top of the bracket while Terrill Samuel and Gigi Higgins will meet on the bottom.

MATCH PLAY, FIRST ROUND

It’s a short field at the Ione D. Jones/Doherty Championship, but the match play began anyway on Tuesday at Coral Ridge Country Club.

In the championship division, only four matches were needed on Tuesday while four other players received a bye to Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Marisa Messana, a former Clemson standout, defeated Dana Williams, a two-time U.S. Women’s Open participant, on the top of the bracket.

On either side of that match, Meghan Stasi, the defending champion, and Courtney McKim, another mid-am who was on Alabama’s 2012 national title team, passed through the first round with byes. Stasi will face Messana on Wednesday.

McKim will meet Melissa Lowe, who took down Shirley Vaughn in a lopsided 6-and-4 victory.

Alexa Pano, who won this event as a 12-year-old in 2017, got a first-round bye and will meet Jamie Freedman in the quarterfinals.

Elle Nachmann also got a bye and will meet Marie Arnoux, who won her match over Diane Booth, 6 and 4.

In the senior championship division, which is considerably fuller, several standout players are still contending. At the top of the bracket, Lisa Schlesinger and Susan Temple will meet in the quarterfinals. Marilyn Hardy scored the most lopsided victory with an 8-and-6 defeat of Carolyn Baumel. She will meet Mimi Hoffman on Wednesday.

Taffy Brower defeated Tama Caldabaugh, 4 and 3, and will meet U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur semifinalist Terrill Samuel. Gigi Higgins and Meg Giusti will make up the final match of the morning.

ABOUT THE Jones/Doherty Women's Amateur

The third event on the "Orange Blossom" circuit of ladies events in Florida, with an illustrious list of past champions including Patty Berg, JoAnne Carner, Babe Zaharias and Marlene Stewart Streit, Natalie Gulbis, Michelle McGann, Vicki Goetze, Charley Hull and Lexi Thompson. Tournament consists of two divisions (Women's and Senior Women's) playing an 18-hole qualifying for match play flights in each division as follows: Championship Flight of 16, First Flight of 16, Second Flight of 8.

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