, 19, of San Antonio, fended off a dramatic late rally by Meagan Winans
, 18, of Richardson, to win the championship match on the first extra hole of the 100th Women’s Texas Amateur at River Crest Country Club.
It was the latest notable achievement over the past few months for the Xavier University rising sophomore. In April, she was named the Big East Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Two weeks ago, McMyler won the TGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship by four strokes at Comanche Trace in Kerrville and on July 1 she shot a 1-under-par 70 at Northgate Country Club in Houston to earn a spot in the starting field of the 121st U.S. Women’s Amateur.
On Friday, she captured the state’s oldest and most prestigious women’s amateur title and now has her name etched on the Spring Lake Cup alongside such legendary players like World Golf Hall of Fame members Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1935), Betty Jameson (1936, 1939), Betsy Rawls (1949-50) and Sandra Haynie (1959-60).
“It feels amazing to win this championship and have my name on the same trophy with some of the greatest women golfers to ever play the game,” McMyler said. “My iron play was very good today and I felt confident standing over the ball. My putting wasn’t as good, but I was able to make them when I needed to.”
The 18-hole final match was a back-and-forth battle early in the day. McMyler and Winans, an incoming University of Oklahoma freshman, both won two holes on the front nine and made the turn all square. McMyler won the 10th and 13th with pars to take a 2-up lead with five holes to go.
After the two tied the next three holes with pars, McMyler remained 2-up with just two to play. Both players hit the fairway on the tree-lined, par-4 17th. McMyler was first to play and, in a rare miscue, sent her approach in the right greenside bunker. Sensing an opening, Winans stuffed her second shot to 4 feet and made the birdie putt to stay alive.
Winans and McMyler hit hybrids off the 18th tee to stay short of a series of cross bunkers. Winans, who had the honor, drove into the trees on the left. McMyler’s tee shot ended up in perfect position on the right-hand side of the fairway. She played first and hit a brilliant approach to 6 feet. With Winans in trouble, it looked like the match would end on the closing hole.
Until it didn’t.
Winans tried to loft her second shot over the trees, but the ball caught some limbs and dropped about 15 yards short of the green. In a most unlikely turn of events, Winans holed her difficult pitch shot to the considerably elevated green for back-to-back birdies. McMyler still had a chance to drop the curtain on the match, but when her putt caught the right lip of the cup and spun out it was on to the first extra hole.
Both players drove into the left rough on the par-4 1st. Winans’s ball was sitting up, but McMyler’s had nestled down in the thick Bermudagrass. Winans was first to play, and her approach came out a little heavy and ended up in fringe about 40 feet short of the hole. McMyler was able to wrestle her ball out of the difficult lie and onto the green where it released to 30 feet past the hole. Winans hit her chip shot about 10 feet past and McMyler hit her first putt to just outside gimmie range. When Winans missed her par attempt, McMyler confidently knocked in her 3-footer to win the championship.
“I just tried to focus on my breathing coming down the stretch because Meagan is such a great player and I just knew she was coming,” McMyler said.
Although she came up just short of the title, Winans was encouraged by her performance.
“Emma is such a very steady player I knew I had to make birdies to win,” Winans said. “It feels good to have birdied the last two holes to extend the match.”