By MATT HARNESS
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (July 23, 2021) – Match play has been good to Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, of Perth, Australia, this year.
Last month, the 19 year old won the Women’s Southern Golf Association Amateur Championship, a match play event. In May, she went 2-1 in match play to help Oklahoma State to second place at the NCAA national championship.
Hinson-Tolchard will be looking to add to her match play success Saturday when she squares off against Marissa Wenzler, of Dayton, Ohio, in the final of the 121st Women’s Western Amateur at Park Ridge Country Club.
“I don’t know that much about (Wenzler), other than she’s playing really well this week,” said Hinson-Tolchard, who played in the 2019 Women’s Western Amateur at Royal Melbourne Country Club in Long Grove, Illinois. “I think it will be a tight match, and I know I will have fun. I’ve really enjoyed myself here. It’s been such a good environment.”
The championship match is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
Hinson-Tolchard will be able to draw on that run of strong performances leading into her trip to the Chicago area. Past champions of the Southern Golf Association Amateur include LPGA Tour stars Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson. Lewis also won the 2006 Women’s Western Amateur.
“Having played all those match play tournaments really prepared me for this week,” Hinson-Tolchard said. “I’m a stronger player now.”
Hinson-Tolchard never trailed during her 2-and-1 win over Sifat Sagoo, of New Delhi, India, in Friday’s semifinals, but it was a back-and-forth match. Each player won three of the first 11 holes before Hinson-Tolchard separated herself by winning Nos. 12-14. She rolled in a 25-footer for birdie on No. 12 and a 40-footer for birdie on the 14th.
“The match was so close for so long,” Hinson-Tolchard said. “Making those long putts helped a lot. Getting that lead gave me confidence and allowed me to play a little more conservatively.”
Wenzler continued her march through match play after earning medalist honors. The 20-year-old Kentucky junior advanced to the final by overcoming an early deficit to beat Virginia sophomore Jennifer Cleary, of Wilmington, Delaware, 2 and 1.
Losing the first two holes didn’t bother Wenzler. She evened the match at No. 7 and was 1 up at the turn. After dropping a hole at the 10th, Wenzler grabbed a 2-up lead with pars on 11 and 12. She extended the advantage to 3 up after reaching the par-5 15th in two to card birdie.
“I was kind of annoyed going down early, but it wasn’t that big of a deal,” Wenzler said. “I tried to stay patient and take it one hole at a time.”
In the quarterfinals Friday morning, Wenzler defeated Purdue junior Kan Bunnabodee, of Chonburi, Thailand, 1 up, and Hinson-Tolchard beat former South Carolina player Lois Kaye Go, of Cebu City, Philippines, 3 and 2.
Wenzler has played 65 holes over the past two days. Hinson-Tolchard has played 64. Just 18 holes remain before the Women’s Western Amateur winner is decided.
“I’m looking forward to some rest,” Wenzler said.
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.
Friday, July 23, 2021
Marissa Wenzler, Dayton, Ohio, def. Kan Bunnabodee, Chonburi, Thailand, 1 up
Jennifer Cleary, Wilmington, Delaware, def. Alexandra Swayne, Cincinnati, Ohio, 5 and 3
Sifat Sagoo, New-Delhi, India, def. Zoe Slaughter, Houston, Texas, 5 and 3
Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, Perth, Australia, def. Lois Kaye Go, Cebu City, 3 and 2
Friday, July 23, 2021
Wenzler def. Cleary, 2 and 1
Hinson-Tolchard def. Sifat, 2 up