By MATT HARNESS
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (July 24, 2021) – Moments after she won the final match to capture the 121st Women’s Western Amateur Saturday, the emotions came rushing out of Marissa Wenzler.
The 20 year old from Dayton, Ohio, kept her composure all week, but she was unable to hold back following her 1-up victory in 20 holes over Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, of Perth, Australia, in the final at Park Ridge Country Club.
“This is one of the greatest wins for me,” Wenzler said. “We grinded so hard all week, and everything all came out at once.”
Wenzler, a junior at Kentucky, became the first medalist to win the Women’s Western Amateur since Emilee Hoffman in 2018 at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Illinois. Wenzler joined former Kentucky teammate Sarah Shipley as a Women’s Western Amateur champion. Shipley won in 2019 at Royal Melbourne Country Club in Long Grove, Illinois.
“Shipley’s the best,” Wenzler said. “She’s been so supportive and texted me this week and told me to get it done.”
Wenzler, who led 3 up through four holes, led 2 up after an eagle on the par-5 15th. Just as she did earlier in the match, the 19-year-old Hinson-Tolchard rallied. The Oklahoma State sophomore evened the match by holing a 20-footer for birdie on No. 17. The players tied 18 with pars and No. 1 — the first extra hole — with bogeys. Wenzler made a 4-foot putt for par on No. 2 and watched as Hinson-Tolchard lipped out her par putt.
“We both were so nervous on the last several holes,” Wenzler said. “But if you’re not, you’re not doing it right. That’s why I play golf, to be in those situations and overcome them.”
Wenzler’s boyfriend, Conor Stoly, who is also from Dayton and is a sophomore at Ohio State, caddied for her all week. It was his first time on Wenzler’s bag at a tournament.
“I was impressed with how she stayed calm in what was an extremely intense match,” he said. “She’s taught me so much about golf.”
Hinson-Tolchard played it cool, too. She pulled herself out of the early deficit by winning Nos. 9 and 10 and tied the match with par at 13.
“I’m really proud of myself for not giving up and staying motivated,” Hinson-Tolchard said. “I learned a lot about myself. I was glad I put myself in a position to win.”
Added Wenzler, “She’s a heck of a player, and I knew she wasn’t going to be easy to beat. I was never too comfortable.”
Hinson-Tolchard thanked her host family, the Welkes, for their hospitality. In fact, she is staying with them for another five days before heading east for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Wenzler also will be in the field at Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.
Next year’s Women’s Western Amateur is scheduled to be held at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield, Illinois. The course last hosted the tournament in 1942.
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.
To view the match play bracket, click here.