Caledonia’s Sarah White, staying aggressive to the very last shot, held off Rochester’s Lauren Ingle 1-up to win the 37th Michigan Girls Junior Amateur Championship presented by Miles of Golf/Kendall Academy/Titleist at Dearborn Country Club.
The former East Kentwood High School star headed to play golf at Western Michigan University had a 3-up lead after holing out a chip shot for an eagle-3 on the 11th hole of the championship match Thursday, but had to fight off Ingle, a 16-year-old junior to be at Stoney Creek High School.
“I knew there were a lot of holes left after the eagle, and that Lauren had just hit a great shot in there to about five feet from the (fairway) bunker,” said White, who was the 2014 Golf Association of Michigan Girls Junior Player of the Year and also was the medalist this past school year in Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I championship.
“I knew I had to get it close, and it went in. Lauren’s a great player so I knew being 3-up it wasn’t over. I told myself to keep playing.”
After hooking a tee shot off a tree and losing the par 3 13th with a bogey, White’s lead took another hit on the par 4 16th when she had tree troubles on the right side while Ingle made a par.
With just a 1-up lead she said she thought for a split second about backing off her driver on the final two holes.
“But I had been hitting my driver great, and that’s me,” she said. “I like the long ball and hitting the risky shot. I’m not a conservative player and I stayed aggressive.”
White almost drove the middle of the green on the short par 4 No. 17, and then ripped driver up the middle on No. 18 as well.
Ingle, whose second shot on 18 found he water hazard left of the green, said she has played a lot of junior golf with White and knew she would have to play well to win.
“I know she’s really good,” she said. “I didn’t doubt her at all. She is that kind of player who can get behind a tree, then on the next shot put in the hole. She is entertaining and she was impressive. She honestly just outplayed me a little bit. It is what it is. I didn’t choke or anything so I feel pretty good about it.”
White, who credited her teacher Scott Dowling and thanked her family for coming, said the victory felt great because she had been in a funk the last few weeks.
“I came back after the first day and hit a lot of greens, made a lot of putts and I was excited to play Lauren in the last match because we are good friends,” she said.
White knocked off Sarah Shipley of Hastings 2 and 1 in the morning semifinal, and Ingle earned her spot in the title match with a 3 and 2 win over Caroline Harding of South Lyon.
Mikaela Schulz of West Bloomfield emerged as champion in the 15-and-under bracket, which also concluded Thursday afternoon. She beat Danielle Staskowski of Clarkston 3 and 2 in the championship match. Schulz topped Alana Jones of Farmington Hills 6 and 5 in the semifinals, and Staskowski beat Olivia Reed of Carleton 5 and 4.
The championship was presented by the Golf Association of Michigan. Find more information on the tournament at www.gam.org and remember to follow the GAM on Facebook and Twitter. (7-9-2015)
Article courtesy of Greg Johnson