DALLAS – Hanna Alberto’s winning performance at the 98th Women’s Texas Amateur was a testament to the theory of low expectations. The Sam Houston State senior from Kingwood on Friday scored a 1-up victory over SMU senior Faith Summers from San Antonio in the Championship Match of the oldest, most prestigious women’s amateur tournament in Texas.
The impressive victory far surpassed her objective for the week at Bent Tree Country Club.
In addition to a red-hot putter and consistent ball-striking, what helped Alberto navigate an 18-hole Qualifying Round followed by five rounds of stressful match play were her modest goals. That’s significant because Alberto was one of the best players in the field.
She’s won seven college events at Sam Houston State, and her World Amateur Golf Ranking of 50th was the highest of all the competitors in the 98th Women’s Texas Amateur. Still, she stayed conservative when it came to her goals.
“I just wanted to make it through the second match play round because that’s where I lost in this event two years ago,” said Alberto, a two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year for the Bearkats. “Not having too high of expectations kind of helped me because I was just focusing on my game and hitting good shots.”
She hit plenty of those on Friday, as she did all week. After trading three pars on the 1972 Desmond Muirhead-designed course that Keith Foster renovated in 2002, Alberto drew first blood against Summers when she poured in a 23-foot birdie on the 380-yard, par-4 fourth hole. Alberto promptly gave up her lead with a bogey on the fifth hole, but a 20-foot birdie on the par-4 seventh gave Alberto another 1-up lead.
Alberto stretched it to a 2-up advantage when she made a 5-foot birdie on the 154-yard, par-3 eighth hole. The 2-up lead remained in place for the next hour or so. Summers played incredibly steady golf for her part. She made 15 straight pars – including seven one-putt scrambles – before finally cracking through with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 16th hole to cut Alberto’s lead to 1 up.
Alberto ultimately won the championship with a routine par on the 18th hole.
“It means a lot to win this great tournament,” said Alberto, who earlier this year played in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. “My friends and family were here and watching. It was a really close match, and I’m glad everything turned out well.”
Summers was gracious in defeat. She was proud of her effort, and rightfully so. For the fourth day in a row, temperatures soared into the high 90s. Fatigue was a factor for all the talented players in the field, and Summers capped off her week by playing the championship-quality course at 1-under par. Nothing to be sore about there.
“Being able to survive five rounds of match play in three days and knowing I have that endurance and competitive edge is really going to help me,” Summers said. “Hanna was just playing some amazing golf. I made it tough on her, though. I made 17 pars today, so she had to make birdies to beat me. She’s an amazing golfer.”
There was more golf played at Bent Tree than just the final match between Alberto and Summers. Players in the field who didn’t qualify as one of the 32 who advanced to the Championship Bracket were divided into seven flights based on their GHIN Handicap Indexes. Each of those flights had championship matches on Friday.
In the first flight, Lauren Mason from Frisco defeated Hanna Harrison from Plano, 5 and 4. In the second flight, Cameron Newhouse from Montgomery defeated Janane Tan from Coppell, 6 and 5. In the third flight, Launa Wilson from Lantana defeated Jennifer Hoyt from Horseshoe Bay, 5 and 4.
In the fourth flight, Caitlyn Lindell from Grand Prairie defeated Nancy Beck from Dallas, 5 and 4. In the fifth flight, Kelli Ann Dugan from San Antonio defeated Cindy Gilkeson from Sugarland, 6 and 5. In the sixth flight, Ryleigh McClain from Kingwood defeated Sherri Buster from Westlake, 1 up. In the seventh flight, Kristin Hawk Heath defeated Lindsey Mitchell from Montomgery, 4 and 3.
The TGA is extremely grateful for Bent Tree Country Club, including its members and staff, for all their generosity and hospitality throughout the championship week. Special thanks are due to General Manager Dan Burkett, Clubhouse Manager Jill Kempa, Head Golf Professional Daniel Coughlan, Superintendent Blake Cain and his hard-working grounds crew, Food & Beverage Director Natasha Jankauskas and Assistant Professionals Brandon Bingaman, Kenneth Mesimer, Konner Malcom and Tristan Cottrell.
Over the years, Bent Tree has been a tremendous supporter of amateur golf and the TGA in particular. The popular north Dallas club has hosted numerous TGA Championships, including the 2014 and 1993 Women’s Texas Amateurs, the 106th Texas Amateur in 2015, the 2011 Texas Senior Amateur, 2006 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play and the 1991 Texas Mid-Amateur. We greatly appreciate support loyalty and support.
We also want to thank the TGA volunteers for their tireless work and dedication to making the 98th Women’s Texas Amateur such a memorable and successful week. For more information on this championship, click here.