SAN ANTONIO – With a pair of match play victories apiece on another steamy day at San Antonio Country Club, Amber Park from Allen and Julia Gregg from Farmers Branch advanced to Friday’s Championship Match at the 97th WTGA State Amateur.
(Click here for Match Play Bracket.)
Fifth-seeded Park, a Texas A&M sophomore, defeated No. 17 seed Kenzie Wright from McKinney, 3 and 2, in the Semifinals. Last summer at the 96th playing of this storied championship, Park lost in the Semifinals. She said that wasn’t necessarily motivation to advance further this time around.
“Of course I did keep that in mind,” Park said. “But I just played my game. This year it’s different.”
Park used consecutive birdies on the 422-yard, par-4 ninth and 149-yard, par-3 10th to move to 3 up and take control of her match against Wright. While the temperature soared to 99 degrees with a Heat Index of 104, Park stuck a hybrid to 5 feet from 183 yards out on No. 9 and calmly drained the putt. She then ran in 20-footer on the 10th.
“I didn’t expect to birdie No. 9, but I got lucky and did,” Park said. “Usually my putting is not there, and that’s one part of my game I really struggle with most of the time. I’ve been working really hard on it. I’ve been dropping a lot of birdie putts and making 10-footers. That’s definitely been helping.”
In the morning Quarterfinals match, Park took care of Austin Westlake High School junior Sadie Englemann, 4 and 3. The No. 4 seed in the Championship Bracket, Englemann won Junior Medalist honors with a 1-over 73. Park never trailed against Englemann, a future Stanford Cardinal, and rolled in three birdies on her way to the win.
Similarly, Gregg never trailed in her Semifinals victory against Sam Houston State senior Jenna Phillips from Leander. Gregg, No. 4 seed, surged ahead of the second-seeded Philips when Gregg won the ninth hole with a par and the 10th with a 20-foot birdie. Four holes later, Gregg said she took control for good.
“I won the 14th hole to go 3 up with five to play,” said Gregg, who has verbally committed to play for Arkansas. “That was the point where I really just said, ‘We’re good. Everything is fine.”
Gregg defeated No. 3 seed North Texas junior Lauren Cox from Orange, 3 and 2, in the morning’s Quarterfinals. Gregg overcame a fast start from Cox, who birdied the first three holes to stake a lead. Gregg tracked her down by the 10th hole to pull even, and then she won holes 13, 14 and 15 to close out the match.
Gregg said she came into the week with no expectations of winning the championship, but her mindset changed over the past couple of days.
“Now I’m thinking about (winning the championship),” she said. “Before I wasn’t, but I definitely am now. It would mean a lot to win my home state’s Amateur Championship. It would mean a ton.”
Park and Gregg will square off in the Final Match on Friday 9:30 a.m. back at historic San Antonio CC.
In the First Flight during Thursday’s Semifinals, fourth-seeded Margaret Cowart from New Braunfels advance to Friday’s championship match with a victory against Illiana Stowers from Montgomery in 19 holes. Cowart will play No. 7 seed Kelley Nittoli from San Antonio in the finals. Nittoli, a San Antonio Country Club member who won Senior Medalist honors in Tuesday’s Qualifying Round, beat third-seeded Brett Permann from Frisco in 19 holes during the Semifinals.
In the Second Flight, No. 1 seed Camry Tardy from Arlington moved into the finals after she defeated Launa Wilson of Lantana, 5 and 3, in Thursday’s Semifinals. Third-seeded Lexi Read from Bridgeport also advanced. Read scored a 1-up victory against No. 7 seed Claudia Ramirez from San Antonio.
In the Third Flight, No. 5 seed Krista Newman-Manning from Fort Worth rallied to knock off top-seeded Leslie Henry from Ennis, 1 up. Newman-Manning will face No. 2 seed Jennifer Hoyt from Horseshoe Bay in the finals. Hoyt defeated third-seeded Carol Turnage, 1 up, in the other Semifinals match Thursday.
In the Fourth Flight, fourth-seeded Lori Daniel took down No. 1 seed Caitlyn Cassity, 1 up, in the Semifinals. Daniel moves on to play Lindsey Mitchell from Montgomery. Mitchell, the No. 6 seed, defeated seventh-seeded Nina Cardenas, 2 and 1.
The Final Matches in Four Flights begin Friday at 8:40 a.m. For more information on the 97th WTGA State Amateur, click here.