Parks Wins 2018 Michigan Women’s Amateur
CLASSIC MATCH: Flushing’s Kerrigan Parks Claims Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship
REDFORD – Flushing’s Kerrigan Parks said the great competition through the week in the 102nd Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship at Western Golf & Country Club, and especially from her final opponent Elayna Bowser of Dearborn, brought out her best golf.
“It was different being in the championship match with Elayna, but we always play great against each other so I knew it would be tough,” said the 19-year-old Marshall University soon-to-be sophomore after winning a dramatic final match in 19 holes with a par.
“It feels great to win this championship. It’s for sure the biggest one I’ve won. I didn’t know if it was possible, but I just kept thinking make it to the top eight, then top four and I kept going. Then I said to myself, ‘I can win this thing.’ It was a long week. My feet are pretty sore, and Elayna was so tough to beat. I feel awesome.”
The 21-year-old Bowser, who will be a senior in a few days at Loyola University of Chicago, said she was proud of her effort.
“It went 19 holes against a good player, I didn’t give up ever and I gave it my all,” she said. “Kerrigan played solid. I feel like she always plays extra solid against me. It’s almost like we bring out the best in each other’s games.”
Parks hit a tee shot right into the trees and made a bogey on the first hole to fall behind, and Bowser quickly went 2-up on the second hole with a 12-foot birdie putt. It was the largest lead anybody would have the rest of the way.
Parks stormed back though with wins on three consecutive holes, Nos. 4, 5 and 6 to take a 1-up lead. Bowser rallied with a birdie on the par 5 No. 8 hole to tie the match.
At No. 11 it was Parks who made birdie to go 1-up, but Bowser birdied No. 13 to tie it again.
The rollercoaster golf continued with Parks winning No. 14 with a par and Bowser winning No. 15 with a par before Parks birdied 16 to take a 1-up lead and Bowser birdied 17 to tie it again. They halved 18 and went to No. 1 again.
Bowser’s approach shot from the fairway drifted short right near a bunker, and she ended up having to chip from the rough twice. Parks rolled in an 8-foot par-saving putt after leaving her first putt short for the win.
“It was basically my only bad iron shot of the day, unfortunately it came on that hole,” Bowser said of her approach shot on the playoff hole. “I wanted to stay below the hole so I took kind of an easy swing at it, and I probably should have gone full throttle at it. It came up a little short right and unfortunately I had a bad lie on an ant hill by the bunker. But what are you going to do? It happens.”
Parks, the 2017 GAM Champion and a two-time Michigan Junior State Amateur Champion, said her nerves got to her more than usual at the start of the final match.
“I hit a pretty bad drive on one, lost the hole and Elayna made birdie so I was down,” she said. “I knew I would come back though, and on the back nine I was hitting the middle of the green and just trying to make birdies. Elayna is a great putter. She can make it from anywhere. I wish I could putt like she can.”
Parks said the win will give her great confidence heading back to college golf.
“It’s a great ending to the summer,” she said. “It was really a special week.”
Results: The match play bracket is available at gam.org on the front page
via Greg Johnson