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Epic final at U.S. Senior Women's Amateur: Tennant to meet Port
14 Sep 2021
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, Lakewood Golf Club, Lara Tennant Rankings

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Ellen Port (L) and Lara Tennant will meet in the final of the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
Ellen Port (L) and Lara Tennant will meet in the final of the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur

It just seemed Lara Tennant and Ellen Port were on a collision course all week long at the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur being held at The Lakewood Club in Clear Point, Ala.

Brackets and seedings aside, the odds were pretty good at the start of the week these two decorated champions would be the last two players standing come Tuesday night in Clear Point.

It will be a heavyweight matchup for the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur championship on Wednesday morning between two-time defending champion Tennant, and seven-time USGA champion Port, who will be looking to hoist the trophy for the fourth time in her illustrious career.

After defeating Sally Krueger, 3 and 2 in a morning quarterfinal matchup, Tennant eliminated Susan Cohn, 2 up in the afternoon in a match she never trailed. Tennant, who also owns a R&A Women’s Senior Amateur Championship from 2019, was 3 up through eight holes and after Cohn closed to within one with wins on holes 11 and 13, the Portland, Ore. native closed out the match with a birdie on the 18th hole.

“It was rough," said Tennant. "I hit some great shots, and then I hit a couple of shots that were uncharacteristic of my game. I’d like to blame it on the weather, so why not. But otherwise, I made some great putts, and a win is a win.”

Port had a much tougher time of it in her semifinal match against Canadian Shelly Stouffer, however.

The two players were never separated by more than one hole during the match, which Port won 1 up with a birdie on 18. The St. Louis native took her first lead in the match with a par on the 14th, only to see Stouffer tie the match with a birdie on the very next hole.

Close matches weren't anything new to Port or Stouffer.

In the morning, Stouffer won a grueling quarterfinal match against Gigi Higgins with a birdie on the 18th hole, while Port needed 19 holes to defeat Therese Quinn, of Jacksonville, Fla. in a round of 16 match on Monday after being two down through 15 holes.

After the two players halved holes 16 and 18 with pars, Port closed out the Canadian with a birdie on the 18th hole to advance to the championship match.

“I just came in knowing I was going to have tough matches,” said Port, the No. 3 seed, who improved her all-time record in this event to 30-5. “I think each year the field gets stronger. I knew I was going to have to play tough matches all the way to the finals. That’s why I’m amazed I even won one of these.”

On Wednesday, Tennant will seek to win her 18th consecutive match in this championship – she last lost in the Round of 64 in 2017, when she was medalist and No. 1 seed on her home course, Waverley Country Club. Port will attempt to win her eighth USGA title, which would put her in esteemed company with Jack Nicklaus and JoAnne Carner. Port would tie Carner for most USGA titles all-time among women. She has a 7-1 record in her previous finals.

“Ellen is a legend, she’s great,” said Tennant. “We were U.S. Four-Ball partners, so we know each other’s games very, very well. We’re dear friends, and she’s a great competitor. We’re going to have a fabulous match tomorrow.”

The 18-hole championship final will be contested on Wednesday, starting at 7:15 a.m. CDT. The starting time for the match was moved up one hour from its original time due to the expected impact of Tropical Storm Nicholas.

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 amateurs.

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