Shannon Johnson (USGA Photo)
There’s a certain change in the air when a USGA competition moves from stroke play to match play. Sure, the facility empties a bit, moving from 132 players with their caddies and entourages to just 64 competitors and those they have with them. But even at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, where competition is met with equal parts camaraderie, the tension thickens. It all becomes more important, more within reach.
Monday at Stonewall was no different. In a match that felt too soon for Match Play Day 1, past champions Shannon Johnson
and Julia Potter-Bobb
faced off in the Round of 64 at the 36th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. It was just one of several marquee matchups that highlighted Monday’s action.
“We are very familiar with each other’s games,” said Johnson after the match. “We were paired together in stroke play, and obviously faced each other in the final [in 2016]. I knew it was going to be a tough match, and she was playing some good golf in stroke play.”
Johnson, who is looking to have a strong showing this week after having to miss last year’s championship due to illness, got off to a fast start, taking a 3-up lead on Potter-Bobb through three holes. The 2018 champion who resides in North Easton, Mass., would card four birdies through her first nine holes, extending her lead to 4 with just eight holes to play after taking No. 10 with a par.
But Potter-Bobb showed what makes her a two-time champion, digging in and winning three out of five holes starting on the 11th to cut the deficit to just 1 with three holes to play. But that would be as close as she would get, and Johnson would win the 17th hole with a par to secure the 2 and 1 win.
“I found a little groove yesterday,” said Johnson, who shot rounds of 82-71 in stroke play. “Some things started to click, and I got out to a good start on the front side today and was executing good shots. Then I made a few silly mistakes to start the back [nine]. I was able to win [hole] 10, but the wheels started to fall off a little bit. I was just able to hold on because I had the big lead.”
Johnson was joined in the winner’s circle by another past champion, 57-year-old Sarah Lebrun Ingram, who won the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in 1991, 1993, and 1994. Ingram, who advanced out of an 8-for-3 playoff earlier in the morning, defeated co-medalist Courtney Dow, 25, of Frisco, Texas.
Ingram, who captained the USA Curtis Cup Team in 2021 and 2022, jumped out to a quick 2 up lead through two holes before Dow evened the match through four. Ingram would take the lead two more times before keeping it for good at the turn, eventually defeating Dow 3 and 2.
“[Courtney] helped me out a little bit, but I played well,” said Ingram, who is playing in the Mid-Am for the first time in over 20 years. “My game’s coming around. I’ve been working on it since mid-July, went through a swing change, and really tried to buckle down since missing qualifying for the Senior Women’s Open. I had to do something. I had to get a little more serious about this, so I’ve been working hard on my swing. My ball striking is better. My driving is better.”
Other champions to advance to the Round of 32 include four-time winner Meghan Stasi, 2021 champion Blakesly Brock, 2015 champion Lauren Greenlief and 2017 champion Kelsey Chugg. Play was suspended due to darkness at 7:20 p.m. ET with five matches still on the course.
The Round of 64 will resume at 7 a.m. ET with six matches still in action. The Round of 32 will begin as scheduled at 7:30 a.m., with the Round of 16 to follow.
ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur
The U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur originated in
1987 to provide a national competitive arena
for amateurs 25 and older. Besides the age
restriction, the event is open to those with a
USGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or lower. It is
one of 14 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly
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