Herrick rallies for third Minnesota Women's Mid-Am title
Olivia Herrick (MGA photo)
Olivia Herrick (MGA photo)

By Nick Hunter

PRIOR LAKE, Minn. (Oct. 3, 2018) – Olivia Herrick and Jasi Acharya entered Wednesday’s final round of the 22nd Minnesota Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at The Legends Club with a share of the lead, and after 18 holes the two remained deadlocked atop the leaderboard at 6-over 150.

Herrick trailed by as many as four to Acharya at one point during the final round but was helped by a pair of birdies early on her back nine. Acharya carried a one-stroke lead to the final hole before a three-putt bogey forced a playoff as both Herrick and Acharya carded a final round 77.

Rolling in a short par putt on the first playoff hole, Herrick claimed her second victory of the season and her third MGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in five years.

“I really rallied on the back and made two birdies in a row on 11 and 12. I’ve played a lot of golf and I know that it’s never, ever over,” Herrick said following her win Wednesday. “Coming down the stretch I knew I needed to hang in there and stay focused and finish the round.

“It’s been a tough summer and a long year. This feels like the hard work has paid off, which is a great feeling. It was also a nice way to bounce back from the [U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship], which I didn’t play great in and was disappointing for me.”

Herrick bogeyed two of her first holes Wednesday to fall to 3-over for the championship, and with back-to-back bogeys at the sixth and seventh, Herrick would turn at 5-over for the tournament and trailed Acharya by two strokes with nine holes to play.

Finding the hazard off the 10th tee would lead to a double-bogey for Herrick who fell to 7vover for the tournament and four shots off Acharya’s pace before bouncing back by rolling in a 12-footer for birdie to cut the deficit to two with an Acharya bogey.

Sticking her approach at the par-4 12th to 10 feet, Herrick pulled within one of Acharya before a bogey by Archarya at the par-3 13th put the two back into a share of the lead. Herrick’s chip at the par-5 16th missed the green and she would be unable to get up-and-down for par to fall one shot back of Acharya.

Both would reach the green in two, but a three-putt bogey by Acharya on the final hole left the door open for Herrick, who sank her short par putt to force extra holes. Acharya’s approach from the right rough missed the first green short, and she was unable to get up-and-down for par. A routine two-putt gave Herrick her third MGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship victory, shooting a 36-hole total of 6-over 150.

“I knew, looking at the forecast, that it was possibly going to be a dicey day and the wind was going to be pretty strong. This is a hard course—every hole is different and there is a lot of trouble. There is a different feature and challenge on every hole,” Herrick said. “I had a sense that we weren’t going to shoot a round under par even though there are a lot of opportunities for birdies out here.

“As I’ve played more over the years and gotten older, my perspective has continued to improve. I feel very much at peace with the fact that this is a lot of fun, but it’s not the most important thing in my life.”

Herrick, a member at Dellwood Country Club, earned her first victory of the season at the Women’s State Open on her home course, holding off four-time champion Lisa Grimes and 2013 winner Sarah Burnham. In the process, Herrick notched her fifth MGA Women’s Player of the Year honors since 2010.

“[Women’s Player of the Year] means a lot to me. I don’t know how many people pay attention to player-points system, but to close out the end of the year with two wins is a dream come true. I feel great.”

Acharya, a former professional who regained her amateur status earlier this season, quickly showcased why she made more than 35 appearances in both LPGA and Symetra Tour Events. She won her first event as an amateur in Montana in July, shooting a 63 to begin the tournament.

After a pair of club victories in recent weeks, Acharya made her debut at a Minnesota state championship by shooting 1-over par 73 Tuesday to earn a share of the lead with Herrick.

A former four-time individual state champion in high school and a Big Sky Conference champion while at the University of Montana, Acharya was elected to the Montana State Women’s Golf Association Hall of Fame before the age of 35, thanks in part to a pair of Montana Women’s Amateur Championships in 2003 and 2005.

“I’m happy to be back out competing and glad to at least have played in [the tournament this week],” Acharya said Wednesday. “Today was definitely disappointing. I felt like I hit the ball a little more consistently, tee to green, and just made nothing. I hit a number of good shots in and no putts fell. That was the difference.

“Olivia is a really good player and I hope that we have the chance to play against each other in the future. I hadn’t really done any preparing and my expectations are probably higher than they should be, but I need to put a little more work in and it showed in a few areas.”

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ABOUT THE Minnesota Women's Mid-Amateur

36-hole stroke play championship. Entries are open to any female amateur golfer who is at least 25 years old as of the start of the tournament and is currently an Associate Member of the MGA. There are no handicap index requirements for this tournament.

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