U.S. Senior Women's Amateur: Three-time champion Lara Tennant earns medalist honors
Lara Tennant (USGA Photo)
Lara Tennant (USGA Photo)

It never gets old for Lara Tennant. Certainly not the winning, which includes three U.S Senior Women’s Amateur titles in 2018, 2019, and 2021, nor earning co-medalist honors for this championship, which she did in 2017 and 2021.

But on Sunday at Troon Country Club, the Portland, Ore., resident earned a new honor: solo medalist.

“I had no thoughts on being medalist today,” said Tennant. “I was just trying to learn the golf course and just hit good shots.” She accomplished both of those goals, finishing with birdies on two of her last holes.

“On the seventh, it was a tough pin placement, tough hole,” she said. “I just hit a really good tee shot and made a good putt, about a 25-footer. That was nice because it was one of the first putts I made today. I missed some other birdie putts that sometimes I make more often. Then I hit a great shot on nine so it was a lot easier making a two-foot putt there for birdie.”

While pleased with her scores, Tennant quickly shifted her focus to match play, which begins on Monday.

“You know, really, the goal in a match play tournament is just to make the cut,” she said. “But it’s always nice to be medalist.”

That honor however, plus her impressive playing record in the championship, will be the farthest things from her mind on Monday. “I wipe that out totally and all I’m thinking about is hitting a good tee shot out on No. 1,” she said. “That’s the only thing I can control.”

Tennant’s stroke play total of 2-over-par 146 bested a familiar face by three strokes: fellow three-time U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur champion Ellen Port, of St. Louis, Mo. The two were partners in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, and Tennant edged Port, 2 and 1, later that year in the final of the Senior Women’s Amateur.

Coming into the second round of stroke play, Port’s goal was to improve on her first-round 77 and get in the top-5 going into match play. She did just that by shaving off five strokes for an even-par 72 to finish the stroke play portion of the championship in second place.

“It feels great because it’s been a long time coming,” said Port. “I struggled. I hesitate to say the last 10 years because people will say ‘Yeah right, Ellen.’ But everybody knows their golf game and I’ve had to fight to get my swing better and my putting better.”

Defending champion Shelly Stouffer of Canada is also well-positioned heading into match play, ending in a tie for third place with Tara Joy-Connelly at 6-over.

“My game feels good right now,” said Stouffer. “I’m hitting the ball pretty well and putting well. I don’t think I had any three-putts today, which was nice because the greens are tricky here. So, I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. Everything is good.”

Joy-Connelly, of Middleborough, Mass., continues to impress in her first U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, overcoming a rough start to the second round, which for her began on the 10th hole.

“I was a little indecisive on the first tee, and I decided to play it safe and messed it up,” she said. “So, took a triple right out of the gate. It was a lot to settle down from then, so, I’m happy with the way I came around, but it was a tough start."

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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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