Gigi Higgins (left) and two-time defending champ Lara Tennant were the only two players to break par in stroke play. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)
Two-time defending champion Lara Tennant
of Eugene, Ore. and Gigi Higgins
of Cape Coral, Fla. shared medalist honors in the 59th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship being played at The Lakewood Club in Point Clear, Ala.
The two golfers finished 36-holes of stroke play at 1-under 143, while seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port
of St. Louis finished two back at 145. Tennant and Higgins were the only two players in the field to finish under par during stroke play.
Tennant went out in even par on Saturday, picked up birdies on holes 10 and 11 and made a bogey on the 14th for a second round 71. After opening the tournament with four bogeys on her first six holes on Friday, Tennant has played the last 30 holes on the Dogwood Course at 5-under par.
It's also the second time Tennant earned medalist honors at the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur after doing so on her home course, Waverly Country Club in 2017. She lost in the Round of 64 that year but hasn't lost since, winning 12 matches and en route to championships in 2018 and '19. She will enter match play as the No. 1 seed.
“I didn’t have medalist on my mind at any moment,” said Tennant. “I’m just happy to get to know the course a little bit better. It’s a matter of figuring out the greens and even the wind a little bit, which seemed to change from yesterday.”
Higgins, the 2016 Florida State Golf Association Senior Player of the Year, made a strong move up the leaderboard into prime seeding position for match play. The 58-yer-old made the turn at 1-under par and birdied four of her first five holes on her incoming nine to get to 5-under on the day. She gave two shots back with bogeys on 15 and 18.
“My goal was just to make the cut, keep moving on,” said Higgins. “I knew I had made a few birdies, but I wasn’t paying attention; I was just playing the ball.”
Port, who is looking for her fourth U.S. Senior Women's Amateur title, has made just three birdies in 36 holes but has not made many mistakes, either. The St. Louis resident grinded out an even par round of 72 on Saturday to finish the stroke play portion of the tournament at 145 (+1) and will enter match play as the No. 3 seed.
Susan Cohn, 58, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is the No. 4 seed after rounds of 71-75. First-round leader Kathy Hartwiger
, of Birmingham, Ala., the 2002 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, followed her 3-under 69 with a 6-over 78 on Saturday for the No. 5 seed, while Amy Ellertson
, of Free Union, Va., (70-77) also shot 3-over 147 for the No. 6 seed.
Five players completed 36 holes at 19-over 163 and played off for the final three spots in the match-play bracket. Two players – Angie Whitley Coleman (No. 62 seed) and Jennifer Hoyt (No. 63 seed) – parred the first playoff hole (the par-3 17th) to make it into the bracket, leaving three players for one spot. They will complete the second playoff hole, the par-4 18th, on Sunday at 7:30 a.m.
The Round of 64 begins on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. CDT. There will be two rounds each on Monday and Tuesday, ending with the 18-hole championship match on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. CDT.
The USGA contributed to this report
View results for U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
ABOUT THE U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
The USGA Senior Women's Amateur is open
to female golfers with a USGA Handicap
Index not exceeding 14.4, who will have
reached their 50th birthday on or before the
first day of the championship. It is one of 14
national championships conducted annually
by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for
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