Sarah White, Katelyn Chipman, Anika Dy and Aya Johnson in 2017 Michigan Women’s Amateur Final Four
SAGINAW – Matches that pitted sister against sister and teammate against teammate helped produce the four golfers headed to the final day of the 101st Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship at Saginaw Country Club.
Traverse City’s Anika Dy beat sister Anci 2 and 1 in one quarterfinal match Thursday, and Canton’s Katelyn Chipman turned aside Grand Valley State University teammate Mackenzie Blomberg of Auburn Hills 1-up in another.
Dy and Chipman are joined in the final four by Kentwood’s Sarah White and Muskegon’s Aya Johnson.
White, a Texas State University golfer, will meet GVSU’s Chipman in an 8 a.m. semifinal Friday, and Dy, a Traverse City West High School student, will play Johnson, a University of Wisconsin golfer at 8:15. The winners will play in the afternoon for the championship.
“I tried to treat it like another match I had to win, but it was weird,” Anika Dy said of beating her sister. “The front nine we were like totally serious. We didn’t talk to each other that much, but after we turned to the back nine it was like a switch flipped and we started talking like we were playing and practicing at home in another one of our fun matches.”
Anci, who at 14 is two years younger than Anika, said she wanted to push her sister to the last hole.
“She made some nice putts though,” she said. “I will caddie for her tomorrow and root for her all the way.”
Anika described their sibling relationship as close.
“We spend most of our time together, we practice together, we share a room and we are really together all the time,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to play her, maybe in the finals.”
Anika beat Western Michigan University golfer Meg Watkins of Frankenmuth 6 and 5 in the round of 16 in the morning, and Anci beat Central Michigan golfer Natalie Johnson of Clinton Township 3 and 1 to set up the sibling showdown.
Anika said she felt great about making the final four for the first time.
“My mind is in a good place right now,” she said. “It’s all about mind-set for me.”
Chipman said she had a different mind-set playing a teammate in the quarterfinals.
“You want both of us to go far, but only one can advance,” she said. “It wasn’t really fun to win. I feel good I won, but it was just very hard.”
The 19-year-old sophomore-to-be was the first-round leader on Monday and said she has felt pretty confident on the Saginaw CC course since.
“I was prepared,” she said. “I kept up on my lessons, played a bunch and I was ready to go.”
Chipman, who last fall won the Gilda’s House collegiate tournament at Grand Valley, is in the final four for the first time. She beat Grand Valley incoming freshman Olivia Reed 2 and 1 in the morning round of 16 before meeting Blomberg, who beat Nichole Cox of Empire 5 and 4.
“Winning will be the goal,” Chipman said. “Whatever happens happens.”
White, her semifinal opponent, beat former two-time champion Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, the Michigan State golf coach from Haslett in the round of 16. It took 19 holes and making birdie on the No. 18 hole to force extra holes and then making birdie on the first extra hole.
Then she outlasted stroke play qualifying medalist and top-seed Kerrigan Parks of Flushing 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals. Parks was the recent winner of the Michigan Girls Junior State Amateur title for the second consecutive year.
“My game is in a good spot right now,” White said. “There are three other really good players still left, but I like the course and know it now and feel like I can play really well here.”
White is in the semifinals for the second time in the last three years, and plans to play aggressive with her ability to hit the ball farther than most others in the field.
“I play aggressive,” she said. “I’m not a conservative player. I had to dig deep today a few times when I was down and I was able to do it. I’m excited about getting to play in the semifinals again and I want to try and win it.”
Johnson, who earlier this month qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship as medalist in the qualifier at The Moors in Portage, will be a fifth-year senior at Wisconsin in the fall because of 2015 back surgery that forced her to sit out a year. She said it is not bothering her though, and she is ready to go one more day.
“I’m confident and feeling good like I’m on the up slope,” she said.
Johnson, who is in the semifinals for the second time (2014), beat Spring Lake’s Anna Kramer 3 and 2 in the morning round of 16, and then topped Brighton’s Julia Dean 3 and 1 in the only quarterfinal match that was delayed by rain and lightning late in the day (one hour, nine minutes).
“I started hitting shots close, especially late in the last match,” she said. “It was a tough match with Julia. I hit it to six-feet on 16 to go 2-up, and then after the delay I hit that last shot into 17 to like a foot. I’m hitting the ball well. I hope the putter is good tomorrow.”
The Final Four
Sarah White of Caledonia, 19, junior at Texas State University
Katelyn Chipman of Canton, 19, sophomore at Grand Valley State University
Anika Dy of Traverse City, 16, junior at Traverse City West High School
Aya Johnson of Muskegon, 21, senior at University of Wisconsin
Results and Match Play Bracket: Find them at gam.org
About the GAM: Founded in 1919, the Golf Association of Michigan is the governing body for amateur golf in the state. As a not-for-profit organization, the GAM’s purpose is to promote, preserve and serve the game of golf. The GAM, served by over 250 dedicated volunteers, provides membership to more than 55,000 golfers and more than 470 Michigan golf courses, conducts over 30 amateur championships, oversees 18 USGA qualifying events, administers the GAM/USGA Handicap System and measures and rates almost 70 courses a year for the USGA. Learn more at www.gam.org.
via Greg Johnson