Isabella Fierro, the 2017 Women's North & South Amateur champion
By Alex Podlogar
PINEHURST, NC (July 14, 2017) - In the championship match of the 115th Women’s North & South Amateur, Isabella Fierro missed just one fairway on Pinehurst No. 2.
She made up for it with the best shot of the championship.
The 16-year-old Mexican phenom rode through all of the highs and lows that the game of golf can sometimes require and came out of them with a brilliant closing stretch of eight holes to beat North Carolina native Anna Redding 2&1 on Friday. Fierro is the first Mexican-born player to win the historic tournament.
“I really can’t believe this right now,” said Fierro, who is not only one of the top-ranked junior players in the world, but one of the most accomplished, and has been mentored by World Golf Hall of Famer Lorena Ochoa-Reyes. “This is my best win ever. I really have no words to express just how happy I am.”
“Qué orgullo ¡Felicidades!” Ochoa-Reyes tweeted to Fierro following the match, which translates to “What pride! Congratulations!”
In a wild match that felt like it had more lead changes than your typical Duke-Carolina game, Fierro was down after the first hole, led 2-up after the fourth hole and then found herself trailing 2-down after the eighth hole.
Fierro, though, evened the match after making a slippery 4 ½-footer for par to win the 11th hole, then took a 1-up lead after a beautiful approach on 12.
Fierro was 10-for-10 hitting fairways in regulation at that point, but her drive on 13 just tricked into the left native area, about a foot off the fairway. She was left with a testy lie under a wiregrass bush while Redding was in the middle of the fairway just 135 yards from the pin.
But after Redding misfired left of the green on her approach, Fierro could feel the pressure ease off. Trying to scoot the ball up the middle of the green, Fierro made solid contact and the ball landed softly on the front of the green, rolling pin-high to about 8 feet. She curled in the putt and found herself up 2 holes once again.
“I just knew Anna was going to put it close, and when she went left, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Fierro said. “Now I felt like I could just hit a soft pitching wedge to the middle of the green, and it just turned out perfectly.”
Redding made a clutch birdie from 15 feet on the par-3 15th to draw back within one, but Fierro was able to reach the front fringe of the par-5 16th in two shots and two-putt for birdie to win the hole, taking another 2-up lead at the 17th tee.
She made a par there to make Pinehurst history.
“To be the first Mexican player to win the North & South is really special to me,” Fierro said. “And I look at that wall of all the past champions, and so many of them are on the LPGA Tour right now. To think I was able to win a tournament they won before making the Tour is incredible.”
Not that Fierro isn’t accustomed to winning big tournaments. She recently won the South American Women’s Amateur by 10 shots and will travel from Pinehurst to Sweden to play in the European Ladies Amateur Championship next week. Fierro has also won the Mexican National Amateur and the Copa Yucatan.
The loss in the final was a tough one for Redding, the 2013 Girls’ North & South Junior Champion. From nearby Concord, Redding has been one of the North & South’s elite players of the last three years, reaching the semifinals in 2015, the quarterfinals in 2016 and the championship this year – a run that included a thrilling 1-up victory over defending champion Kristen Gillman in the quarterfinals.
“My ball-striking just wasn’t at its best today, and Isabella just played really, really well,” Redding said. “It was a great match.
“I’m really proud of myself,” Redding added, as the tears came. “I was just so close.”
ABOUT THE North & South Women's Amateur
The Women's North & South has drawn the top
amateur women from around the country. Three
rounds of stroke play followed by four rounds of
match play will determine the Champion.
The 96 player field will be cut to a 16 player
match play field and medalist honors. All stroke
match play rounds will be contested on Pinehurst
No. 2. The top 16 players who qualify for match
play will play two rounds a day until our
Nine of the last 12 North & South Women’s
Amateur champions have drawn paychecks as
members of the LPGA Tour. The equation is near
perfect. Win the North & South Am, go on to
professional success at the highest level.
North & South champions are among the legends
of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs,
Kirk Bell, Hollis Stacey, Brandie Burton, Brittany
Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.
Along with the Women's North & South,
Resort & Country Club annually plays host to the
Men's North & South, the Junior North & South,
and Senior Men's and Senior Women's North &
View Complete Tournament Information