ST. LOUIS (AP) — Shannon Johnson birdied the par-5 18th hole to beat defending champion Kelsey Chugg 1 up Thursday in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur final at Norwood Hills Country Club. The 35-year-old Johnson, a…
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Shannon Johnson birdied the par-5 18th hole to beat defending champion Kelsey Chugg 1 up Thursday in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur final at Norwood Hills Country Club.
The 35-year-old Johnson, a sales representative for Ping Golf from Norton, Massachusetts, reached the 18th green in two with a 7-wood and two-putted for birdie from 20 feet, holing a 1 1/2-footer. Chugg missed a 10-foot birdie try.
“I was surprisingly really calm, even on the 18th tee,” said Johnson, a former college player at New Mexico and Indiana. “I hit a great drive on 18. I didn’t think I could get on in two as we were walking up, but then the yardage that we had, we just had to cover 200 to the front. I couldn’t have hit it any better. It was unbelievable. Kelsey really didn’t miss too many putts all day, and I thought for sure we were going to go to extra holes. I was very surprised when she missed it.”
After losing three straight holes, Johnson tied it with a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th.
“It was just an incredible match,” Chugg said. “I felt like I played as well as I could have. I would have loved the putt to go in on the last hole, but I really feel like I did a great job of hanging on. She’s just an incredible player. Just rock solid.”
Johnson won the event for players 25 and older as the qualifying medalist after losing the 2016 final to Julia Potter-Bobb and reaching the semifinals last year. Johnson earned spots in the U.S. Women’s Open next year and the next two U.S. Women’s Amateurs.
The 26-year-old Chugg, from Salt Lake City, is the membership director for the Utah Golf Association. She won last year at the Champions Golf Club in Houston.
Tied after 10 holes, Johnson won the par-4 11th with a par and par-3 12th with a birdie. Chugg rallied to take the lead, winning the par-4 13th with a par — Johnson had a double bogey — and the par-4 14th and par-5 15th with birdies.
Dave Hanten, Johnson’s coach since she was 13 years old in Sioux Falls, South Daokta, drove from South Dakota to watch the match.
“This is unbelievable for him to be here to see it because he’s wanted to come the last couple years, and they’ve just been too far away,” Johnson said. “I think he got hopped in the car before that first match was done yesterday, and I was like, that’s pretty bold there. He’s got a herniated disc and he walked all 18. He couldn’t stay away.”