By MATT HARNESS
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (July 22, 2021) – Jennifer Cleary, of Wilmington, Delaware, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 121st Women’s Western Amateur at Park Ridge Country Club in the most dramatic fashion Thursday.
Leading 2 up with two holes to play, the 19-year old Virginia sophomore needed 20 holes to beat Kennedy Pedigo, of Fort Worth, Texas. Cleary rolled in a 13-footer for birdie on No. 2, the second playoff hole, after hitting her tee ball into a bunker.
“Probably the best shot I’ve ever hit,” Cleary said of the 115-yard pitching wedge that set up the winning putt.
After several Round of 32 matches went to the final hole on Thursday morning, Cleary and Pedigo played the closest match of the afternoon. Eight players advanced through the two rounds of match play Thursday to secure their spots in the quarterfinals, set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The semifinals will be played Friday afternoon, with the championship match on Saturday morning.
Cleary seemed in control when she moved to 3 up on No. 11. But Pedigo, who finished her senior season at Southern Methodist this year, rallied to extend the match. She made a long birdie putt on No. 17 and par on the 18th.
“It was crazy,” Cleary said. “I was confident heading into 16 and just trying to make pars. She made a bomb on 17 and then I didn’t hit a great iron on 18 and had a tough putt.
“But when momentum shifts like that, you have to get back into your own rhythm.”
Cleary will meet Clemson senior Alexandra Swayne, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the quarterfinals at 7:42 a.m. Friday. Swayne earned a 5 and 4 win over Pilar Echeverria, of Guatemala, in the Sweet 16.
Tournament medalist and Kentucky junior Marissa Wenzler, of Dayton, Ohio, won both of her matches without playing more than 16 holes. Still, Tennessee senior Mikayla Bardwell, of Dallas, Texas, didn’t make it easy on her in the Sweet 16.
Wenzler was 3 up after 11 holes and could have closed out Bardwell on No. 15. Instead, she stumbled to a bogey to extend the match. Wenzler bounced back to par No. 16 for the 3 and 2 win.
“She stressed me out at the end,” Wenzler said. “We’re friends and talked about possibly playing each other. Of course that’s hard because we both want to win.”
Wenzler will play Kan Bunnabodee, of Chonburi, Thailand, in the first match at 7:30 a.m. on Friday. Bunnabodee, a junior at Purdue, won the first hole and never trailed in her 5 and 4 victory over Michigan senior Ashley Lau, of Malaysia, in the Sweet 16.
“I was running out of energy, so I kept it simple by hitting fairways and greens,” Bunnabodee said. “I didn’t expect too much. Maybe that was a good thing for me.”
Sifat Sagoo, of New Delhi, India, and Zoe Slaughter, of Houston, Texas, will play at 7:54 a.m. on Friday. Lois Kaye Go, of Cebu City, Philippines, and Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, of Perth, Australia, will play at 8:06 a.m.
Held without interruption since its inception in 1901, the Women’s Western Amateur is among the oldest and most prestigious annual championships in women’s amateur golf. The tournament is conducted jointly by the Women’s Western Golf Association and the Western Golf Association and features the top amateur and collegiate players from across the globe.
The list of past champions spans more than a century, from legendary stars Patty Berg, Louise Suggs and Nancy Lopez to modern standouts like Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn.
Attendance and parking for the Women’s Western Amateur are free.
To view the match play bracket, click here.
Round of 32 Results
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Marissa Wenzler, Dayton, Ohio, def. Sarah Arnold, Geneva, Illinois, 5 and 4
Mikayla Bardwell, Dallas, Texas, def. Clara Moyano, Madrid, Spain, 2 and 1
Ashley Lau, Malaysia, def. Lauren Hartlage, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, 2 and 1
Kan Bunnabodee, Chonburi, Thailand, def. Jackie Lucena, Chico, California, 1 up
Alexandra Swayne, Cincinnati, Ohio, def. Jillian Bourdage, Tamarac, Florida, 3and 2
Pilar Echeverria, Guatemala, def. Jieni Li, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 1 up
Jennifer Cleary, Wilmington, Delaware, def. Anna Kramer, Spring Lake, Michigan, 5 and 4
Kennedy Pedigo, Fort Worth, Texas, def. Leigh Chien, Irvine, California, 3 and 2
Sarah-Eve Rheaume, Quebec, Canada, def. Emma McMyler, San Antonio, Texas, 21 holes
Sifat Sagoo, New-Delhi, India, def. Britta Snyder, Ames, Iowa, 19 holes
Zoe Slaughter, Houston, Texas, def. Leila, Raines, Galena, Ohio, 3 and 2
Megan Whittaker, Elkhorn, Nebraska, def. Lindsay May, Auburn, New York, 21 holes
Lois Kaye Go, Cebu City, Philippines, def. Anika Varma, Roseville, California, 1 up
Han-hsuan Yu, Taiwan, def. Jennifer Rosenberg, Syosset, New York, 2 up
Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, Perth, Australia, def. Rebecca Skoler, Needham, Massachusetts, 3 and 1
Melena Barrientos, Plano, Texas, def. Teresa Toscano, Huelva, Spain, 1 up
Sweet 16 Results
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Wenzler def. Bardwell, 3 and 2
Bunnabodee def. Lau, 4 and 3
Swayne def. Echeverria, 5 and 4
Cleary def. Pedigo, 20 holes
Sagoo def. Rheaume, 4 and 3
Slaughter def. Whittaker, 3 and 2
Go def. Yu, 3 and 2
Hinson-Tolchard def. Barrientos, 4 and 3