Women's Western Am champion Jasmine Koo (WWGA photo)
Jasmine Koo defeated Sadie Englemann, 4 and 2, to claim the 123rd Women's Western Amateur at White Eagle Golf Club in Naperville, Illinois.
The 17-year-old from Cerritos, California, played nearly flawless golf all week.
She continued her stellar play during Saturday’s final match, hitting 15 out of 16 greens .The USC commit made six birdies on Saturday to etch her name on the W.A. Alexander Cup and become the first junior to win the Women’s Western Amateur since 2015.
“I came into the week not knowing what to expect, and to win the whole thing is such an honor,” Koo said. “This is the biggest win I’ve had, so I’ll always remember this week.”
A RARE DOUBLE:
Jasmine Koo's brother Joshua wins the Pacific Northwest Amateur at Chambers Bay
on the same day.
Koo played 116 holes at the Naperville, Illinois, club this week. The rising high school senior played those holes in a combined 27-under par with just seven bogeys against 34 birdies. Koo finished stroke-play qualifying in third place and won five matches against collegiate standouts.
She faced a formidable foe in the championship match in Englemann, a rising senior at Stanford.
After both players traded early hole wins, Koo had the opportunity to take the lead with a three-foot putt for birdie on No. 6. The putt slid by the hole, but the miss would be a turning point.
“I got kind of angry with myself that I missed that, so I made up for it by actually making a birdie on seven, then stuck another on eight,” Koo said. “I told myself I just need to keep this going.”
Trailing by three on the 12th, Englemann began to battle back by hitting her tee shot on the 135-yard par 3 to five feet and making birdie. Koo responded with her own approach to five feet from 120 yards on No. 15. After sinking the birdie putt, Koo walked to the 161-yard, par-3 16th needing only a tie to claim the title.
She stepped up and hit a hybrid to 15 feet, then rolled in the birdie putt to cap a breakout week.
“I think that was the best shot I hit all week and one I’ll never forget,” Koo said of her tee shot on the 16th. “I wanted to win it in style with a birdie. Walking down the 16th, I kept telling myself I hadn’t won yet,” she added. “It was just a big rush when the putt dropped, and all I could think was, ‘I won.’
Englemann couldn’t help but walk away from the championship match feeling proud of her performance.
“I really cannot be disappointed because we both played incredible golf today,” Englemann said. “I’m just really happy to have got into the final match and will use this good experience for next time.”
Englemann, a national champion on the star-studded Stanford lineup and previous competitor in the U.S. Women’s Open and Augusta National Women’s Amateur, was impressed by the young Koo.
“I knew coming in that she’s a strong golfer, and I definitely know that now after watching her make six birdies,” Englemann said. “She’s really good for the future of the game, and it was fun to watch her win a tournament like this.”
With the victory, Koo joins a list of past champions that spans from legendary stars Patty Berg, Louise Suggs and Nancy Lopez to modern standouts like Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn.
“It’s really cool to see how accomplished the winners are,” Koo said. “Hopefully, I’ll be just as good or even better than those names and can add my name to the trophy again in the years to come.”
Koo will have the opportunity to become the first player since Meridith Duncan (2000, 2001) to repeat as champion when the Women’s Western Amateur travels to Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, in 2024.
- Women's Western Golf Association story
ABOUT THE Women's Western Amateur
The The Western Golf Association (WGA) has
partnered with the Women’s Western Golf
Association to administer the
Women’s Western Amateur. Held without interruption
since 1901, this event is one of the
oldest annual championships in women’s amateur
golf. The list of past champions includes
current stars and legends of the LPGA TOUR,
including Ariya Jutanugarn (2012), Stacy Lewis
(2006), Brittany Lang (2003), Grace Park (1998),
Cristie Kerr (1995) and Nancy Lopez (1976).
The Women's Western Amateur is open to amateur
women who have an up-to-date 18-hole
that does not exceed 5.4 under the World Handicap
System. The WWGA Committee limits the
field to a
maximum of 120 contestants.
The championship begins with 36 holes of stroke-
play qualifying, after which the field is cut to
the low 32
players for match play. In the event of a tie for the
32nd position, a sudden-elimination playoff
the final match play qualifiers. Five rounds of 18-hole
matches will decide the Women's
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