Teen Titans: Allyson Geer, Nichole Cox, Emily White and Julia Dean Remain at Michigan Women’s Amateur
LINDEN – The teens are taking over at the 100th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship with a trio of 17-year-olds and a 19-year-old moving on to the semifinals Friday morning at Spring Meadows Country Club.
“Hey, I’m not old, I’m still a teenager,” exclaimed University of Michigan golfer Emily White of Saline, the 19-year-old who is joined by Nicole Cox of Empire, defending champion Allyson Geer and Julia Dean, who are both from Brighton.
White will play Dean in one semifinal, and Geer will meet Cox in the other starting at 8 a.m. The winners will play for the championship in the afternoon.
White, who will be a junior at Michigan, advanced to the final four with a 4 and 3 round of 16 win over Spring Meadows member, Julie Guckian of Linden, a Grand Valley State University golfer, and then a 3 and 2 win over Elayna Bowser of Dearborn, who plays college golf at Loyola University Chicago.
“Honestly, I had no goal for this week,” White said. “I have not been having the greatest summer of golf. I haven’t played that great since February so my plan was to have fun. I’ve never been this far so I’m going to keep trying to have fun. The more I try to do something is when I screw up. So the plan is just have fun.”
Dean, who beat Michigan State golfer Jacqueline Setas 3 and 2 in the morning round of 16, had to fight off the youngest member of the Sweet 16 in 15-year-old Anika Dy of Traverse City in her quarterfinal match. She made a 40-foot putt on No. 16 for birdie, and then closed out the 3 and 1 win on No. 17 with a 20-yard chip in from off the front of the green.
“It was a really tough match,” said the senior-to-be at Brighton High School who recently withdrew her commitment to Baylor University in Texas and opened up her recruiting again.
“Anika made a lot of good par saves and made it difficult. She is super consistent. I was just trying to get the putt on 16 to die in the cup or just be close and the same with the chip at 17. I’m excited they went in, and excited about being in the semifinals. This is my second time in the Michigan Am and this is the farthest I have been.”
Cox is playing in the Amateur for the second time, and excited, too.
“This is a great accomplishment,” she said. “I’m playing well. I think if I can get rid of a few bumps here and there, I could keep going.”
Cox, who will be a senior at Maple City Glen Lake High School, beat Aya Johnson of Muskegon and the University of Wisconsin 4 and 3 in the round of 16, and then had to hold off Morgan Smith of Muskegon and Oakland University 1-up in the quarterfinals.
She saved a par on No. 18 to win against Smith with a recovery shot from under a tree behind the green and 10-foot downhill putt. Smith, who hit her tee shot in the trees, played to bogey.
“I was tired and nervous,” said Cox, who is committed to play college golf at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. “I don’t think I’ve ever played 36 holes back-to-back like that.”
Geer, a Michigan State commit who, beat University of Tennessee golfer Hannah Pietila of Brighton 5 and 4 in the round of 16, was pushed to the limits in her quarterfinal match by Western Michigan University golfer Kaitlyn Watkins of Frankenmuth.
Watkins had a 4-up lead before Geer made birdies on Nos. 9, 10 and 11 to tighten things up. It stayed tight, and Geer said she had to tell herself and caddie Nick Park that she needed to stay mentally focused on each shot.
“I made the shots I had to stay in it, and I knew my adrenalin was running like crazy,” she said after winning in 19 holes. “It was a great match. It’s one of the best matches I’ve ever had. Kaitlyn played so tough. She is a great putter and she made some clutch par putts. I loved it. It pushed me to dig deep and make big shots. She put a lot of pressure on me.”
Watkins, who will be a senior at Western and next summer plans to take advantage of an accounting internship with Crowe-Horwath in Grand Rapids, said she was proud of the way she battled.
“I made some great shots, and I made a couple of big mistakes at the end,” she said. “I was 1-up at 18, but hit a 9-iron over the green because I didn’t account for adrenalin, and then I hit a bad tee shot on the last hole. Allyson is really good. She is four years younger than me, but she just kept coming after me. I learned stuff watching her today.”
RESULTS: The complete match play bracket is available at www.gam.org
via Greg Johnson