HOUSTON — Kelsey Chugg capped off a dominant week of match play with a 3-and-1 victory over Mary Jane Hiestand to win the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title and earn a spot in the U.S. Women’s Open next year.
Chugg, making her U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur debut, began her week with an 85 in stroke play qualifying. She rebounded with a 72 to earn one of 64 spots in match play, and the 26-year-old from Salt Lake City took it from there.
None of her six matches reached the 18th hole at Champions Golf Club
“It’s just been a crazy week. I can’t believe I pulled it off,” said Chugg, the membership director for the Utah Golf Association. “This is really exciting for me to be able to bring this home for Utah and the golf community there.”
Hiestand, a 58-year-old from Naples, Florida, was trying to become the oldest Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. She reached the championship match by making a 50-foot birdie putt to win her semifinals match in 19 holes, and she opened the final match by making a 25-foot par putt.
Chugg never gave her much hope after that. The turning point came on the third hole when Chugg made a 40-foot par putt, and Hiestand three-putted from 25 feet to lose the hole. She never caught up.
The match ended on the 18th hole when Hiestand three-putted and conceded Chugg’s short par putt.
“I made nothing,” said Hiestand, whose previous best in USGA events was a semifinal loss in the 2013 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. “It’s a putter’s golf course and that’s my game. For me not to make anything is amazing, but you have those days.”
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur was relocated to Champions from Quail Creek Country Club in Naples because of extensive flood damage from Hurricane Irma.