Chugg to face Johnson in attempted Women's Mid-Am defense
Kelsey Chugg (USGA photo)
Kelsey Chugg (USGA photo)

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 26, 2018) Defending U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Kelsey Chugg, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah, won a pair of matches Wednesday at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis to move within one win of defending the title she won last year at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

While Chugg will attempt to become the fourth player to win consecutive Women’s Mid-Amateurs, her opponent in Thursday’s 18-hole championship match will be trying to get over the proverbial hump. Shannon Johnson, 35, of Norton, Mass., finished runner-up in 2016 to Julia Potter-Bobb and made the semifinals last year.

Chugg, the membership director for the Utah Golf Association, ousted four-time Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the morning’s quarterfinal match. Chugg won three of the first four holes en route to a 3-and-2 win. Chugg defeated Gretchen Johnson, 32, of Portland, Ore., 2 and 1, in the semifinals. Chugg appeared to be on cruise control against Johnson, winning holes 9-11 for a 5-up lead before Johnson won three of the next four to push the match to the 17th hole.

“Stasi was tough this morning. She had a rough start but really hung in there,” said Chugg. “She’s a veteran player, and she’s really good. So, hanging tough with her helped me out a bit. And then what Gretchen did this afternoon, it was tough to keep playing and keep my mind straight through all that.”

Johnson, a sales representative for Ping Golf, defeated Clare Connolly, 25, of Chevy Chase, Md., in the quarterfinals. After losing the first hole, Johnson won holes 4-6 to go 2 up. Connolly won holes 8 and 9 to square the match but Johnson won three of four holes from 13-17 to seal a 3-and-2 triumph. Johnson had no trouble in her semifinal match against Michelle Butler, 25, of Columbia, Mo. Johnson won the first three holes, including birdies on Nos. 2 and 3, then iced a 7-and-5 win with three straight wins from 11-13, closing with a conceded birdie on No. 13 after Butler missed her birdie try.

“It’s always good to go 1 up after one, kind of loosens you up, frees you up a little bit, and then made two good birdies on 2 and 3, which were huge,” said Johnson of her semifinal victory. “Other than 1, I think I probably hit every fairway, which is awesome. That’s what you’ve got to do, just try and leave it in the right spots on the greens.”

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur

The U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur originated in 1987 to provide a national competitive arena for amateurs 25 and older. Besides the age restriction, the event is open to those with a USGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or lower. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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