Elle Nichols of Okemos (above) edged Kelsey McDougall of Canton 2 and 1 to take home the Mina L. Wright Memorial Trophy in the 2014 Michigan Girls Junior State Amateur.
Nichols will play for Oakland University in the fall.
Abby Pierce of Bloomfield Hills took the 15-and-under crown over Jordan Michalak of Birmingham 4 and 2.
The 36th Michigan Girls Junior State Amateur was held at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers course.
Elle Nichols Holds off Kelsey McDougall to Win 36th Michigan Girls Junior State Amateur
EAST LANSING – Elle Nichols of Okemos shook off the struggles of the first nine holes and finally shook off Kelsey McDougall of Canton to win the 36th Michigan Girls Junior State Amateur presented by Miles of Golf/Kendall Academy/Titleist at Forest Akers Friday.
“We both struggled early and I realized when we got to the back nine that we were running out of holes to struggle on and that I better do something,” said Nichols, a recent graduate of Okemos High School who is headed to play golf for Oakland University in the fall.
Nichols won holes 13 and 14 on Forest Akers East course with pars to go 2-up in the match, matched birdies with McDougall at No. 15 and made pars the rest of the way to win the match 2 and 1 and take home the Mina L. Wright Memorial Trophy. The championship match was moved to the East course Friday because a day of play on the West course was lost to heavy rain and lightning earlier in the week.
That didn’t bother Nichols, who has won three state high school individual titles on the East course.
“The high school championships were very exciting, but this is a tournament I knew had golfers from all of the divisions in high school would be playing, so I think this is my biggest win,” she said. “It’s really exciting.”
McDougall, who is headed to Butler University in Indianapolis in the fall, said she couldn’t make a birdie.
“I hit it above the hole a few times and three-putted too many times,” she said. “It was just a struggle all day. I couldn’t get anything going, and I was never in the lead.”
Nichols beat Pader Her of Holt 2 and 1 in Friday afternoon’s semifinal final to get to the championship match. McDougall topped Anna Kramer of Spring Lake 4 and 2 in the other semifinal. Kramer was the golfer who earlier knocked out qualifying medalist Sarah White of Kentwood in match play.
McDougall said the runner-up finish is a highlight of her young golf career.
“I really had a great week so I’m pleased overall,” she said. “It gives me confidence going ahead.”
Nichols, who has twice made it to the “Sweet 16” in the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship, said she had picked out this event as one she had a great chance to win before the summer started.
“This was going to be the last one of these I could play in, so I really wanted to make the most of it,” she said. “This will be great for my confidence. This is the kind of competition I will have to face in college golf, so this is great for me.”
A champion was also crowned in a 15-and-under age tournament bracket. Abbey Pierce of Bloomfield Hills topped Jordan Michalak of Birmingham 4 and 2 in that title match on Thursday afternoon at the West course, which hosted the state championship for the second consecutive year.
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