Three USGA Champions still alive at U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
Ellen Port showed the fight of a 7-time USGA champion with her come-from-behind, 19-hole win in the Round of 16. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)
Ellen Port showed the fight of a 7-time USGA champion with her come-from-behind, 19-hole win in the Round of 16. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)

Two-time defending champion Lara Tennant and three-time champion Ellen Port both rallied to win a pair of matches on Monday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 59th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship on the 5,771-yard, par-72 Dogwood Course at The Lakewood Club.

Port, 59, of St. Louis, Mo., a seven-time USGA champion, was tied through 13 holes in her morning Round-of-32 match with Marilyn Hardy, of Magnolia, Texas, but prevailed, 2 and 1. Port was 2 down to Therese Quinn, of Jacksonville, Fla., through 15 holes in the afternoon Round of 16, but rallied to win Nos. 16 and 18, then advanced with a par on the first extra hole.

Tennant, 54, of Portland, Ore., who won the 2018 and 2019 titles (2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), extended her win streak in the championship to 15 matches, but it took some doing. The co-medalist and No. 1 seed this week, Tennant was 2 down to 2017 champion Judith Kyrinis after eight holes in the morning Round of 32.

Tennant made birdies on the par-4 11th and 14th holes and traded par wins with Kyrinis to send the match to extra holes. Kyrinis, 57, of Canada, who also reached the final in this championship in 2014, three-putted for bogey from just off the front of the green on the 477-yard, par-5 first hole to lose to Tennant’s two-putt par.

“When I was 2 down, I set a scoring goal for myself, just to think about my own game,” said Tennant, who last lost in the Senior Women’s Amateur in 2017, in the Round of 64 after earning the No. 1 seed on her home course, Waverley Country Club. “The goal was 2 under and I ended up playing those 10 holes in 1 under. I think that helped me redirect my thoughts.”

Tennant was tied with Kelly Nittoli, of San Antonio, Texas, through 10 holes in the Round of 16, then won three straight holes – two with birdies – and closed out the match on the 17th hole, 2 and 1.

Kathy Hartwiger, of Birmingham, Ala., the 2002 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and the No. 5 seed, also won two matches, defeating 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur runner-up Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, Fla., 3 and 2, in the morning, and overcoming Adrienne MacLean, of Tequesta, Fla., in 20 holes.

No. 2 seed and co-medalist Gigi Higgins, of Cape Coral, Fla.; No. 4 Susan Cohn, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and No. 8 Sally Krueger, of San Francisco, Calif., also advanced to the quarterfinals. Two matches were suspended by darkness and will resume at 7:30 a.m. CDT.

What’s Next

Four players will return to Lakewood in the morning to complete the two Round-of-16 matches yet to be decided and try to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Shelly Stouffer, of Canada, holds a 1-up lead over Patricia Ehrhart, of Birmingham, Ala., through 15 holes, while Sylvie Von Molle, of Belgium, and Tracy Welch, of Winchester, Mass., are tied through 21 holes. That match will resume on the fourth hole of the Dogwood Course. The quarterfinals are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. CDT, followed by the semifinals at 1 p.m. CDT.

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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 amateurs.

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