U.S. Senior Women's Amateur: Sarah LeBrun Ingram dominates en route to Quarterfinals
Sarah LeBrun Ingram (USGA Photo)
Sarah LeBrun Ingram (USGA Photo)

One of Sarah LeBrun Ingram’s goals coming into the 61st Senior Women’s Amateur was to reach the quarterfinals. Doing so would mean an automatic exemption, rather than having to go through qualifying, into the 2024 championship at Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle, Wash.

She accomplished that goal in record-breaking fashion on Tuesday at Troon Country Club.

It took LeBrun Ingram, of Nashville, Tenn., just 24 holes to win two matches, setting a new championship record for fewest holes played on the second day of match play (previously held by Ellen Port, who took 26 holes in 2012). She defeated Tara Joy-Connelly 8 and 6 in the morning, followed by a 7 and 6 win over Jackie Foster of England in the afternoon.

“It was a very good day,” said the 57-year-old, who had no inkling of just how well she would play. “Not really. I’ve just been trying to play the best golf I can play. But I’m trying not to think anything, just trying to stay present, hit balls, take it one shot at a time, and keep doing the same routine.”

LeBrun Ingram, who won three U.S. Mid-Amateur championships in the early 1990s before being sidelined from the game for more than 20 years with rheumatoid arthritis, got a boost in confidence after advancing to the Round of 32 at this year’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.

“I feel like after the summer, and really trying to be more focused on my physical strength and working on my swing, to do well at the Mid-Am where I didn’t have high expectations helped with confidence,” she said. “To know that I could hang with those girls definitely helps with confidence, for sure.”

LeBrun Ingram will next face Linda Jeffrey of Prattville, Ala., who defeated Kathy Hartwiger of Pinehurst N.C., 2 and 1. Jeffrey, making her first appearance in the championship, defeated Kathy Glennon of Naples, Fla., 7 and 6, in the morning.

Martha Leach left Troon Country Club Monday night in search of a Powerball ticket and the grand prize of more than $1 billion. She got the ticket, but didn’t win, settling instead for some impressive numbers on her scorecard. Leach took down Pamela Kuong of Wellesley Hills, Mass., 5 and 3, and Stacy Dennis of Dallas, Texas, 2 and 1 to reach the Quarterfinals.

“Hopefully, I can continue hitting it like I have been,” Leach said. “I’d like to roll it a little bit better putting, but tomorrow’s another day, and I hope that I can sneak in there.”

She will face Brenda Corrie Kuehn of Asheville, N.C., who knocked off 3-time Senior Women’s Amateur champion Lara Tennant 4 and 3.

Kuehn, whose day started with a win over Ginny Burkey of Eugene, Ore., in 21 holes, came into the championship with low expectations.

“You know, to be honest with you, I just want to go out there and hit the ball well,” she said. “That’s all I’m looking for. Just hit good swings, hit the ball well, get comfortable out there, and see what happens. That’s my goal. Let’s see if I can hit the ball how I hit it at home.”

Nadene Gole of Australia made a strong statement with wins over two former Women’s Amateur champions. She defeated 3-time winner Ellen Port, 4 and 3, and then took down Judith Kyrinis of Canada in 19 holes.

Gole, who won the Tasmanian Senior Women’s Amateur and the New Zealand Senior Women’s Amateur this past February, is the sole remaining International player in the field.

Marilyn Hardy of Magnolia, Texas, at age 62, is the oldest player still in the championship. She defeated Sylvie Van Molle of Belgium in 19 holes to reach the Quarterfinals.

“It’s a marathon. It was an ebb and flow kind of thing,” she said. “I hit the ball well, I hit a lot of greens, missed a few putts, and just kept grinding. That’s all. It’s all about grinding.”

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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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