Lottie Woad delivers Masters-like charge to win Augusta National Women’s Amateur

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Lottie Woad watched the Augusta National Women’s Amateur when it began in 2019, and she has watched the Masters even longer. To find herself in Butler Cabin on Saturday to join the long list of champions was surreal.

And how she got there was even more amazing.

Two shots behind with five holes to play, the 20-year-old from England delivered a charge that would hold its own against some of the greatest finishes at Augusta National. Woad birdied three of her last four holes for a 3-under 69 and a one-shot victory.

“I was hoping it was going to be like a nice stress-free day, but it was far from that,” Woad said. “In the end, it’s a cooler way to finish.”

Arnold Palmer in 1960 and Mark O’Meara in 1998 are the only players to birdie the last two holes at Augusta National to win by a single shot. Woad did it with a wedge to 10 feet for birdie on the 17th, and a 9-iron to 15 feet to set up the winner.

Bailey Shoemaker could only watch after finishing with a bogey-free 66, the best round of the day that looked like a winner until Load came through in the clutch.

“Good for her, especially under pressure, knowing she had to do it. That’s amazing,” said Shoemaker, a USC freshman. “I’m obviously disappointed, but at the end of the day, I played about as good as I could have.”

Woad finished at 8-under 208. The victory gets her into every LPGA major except the Women’s PGA Championship, starting with the Chevron Championship in two weeks.

Woad started the final round with a two-shot lead and fell behind when Shoemaker made her sixth and final birdie, and posted at 7-under par.

And then it got worse for the Florida State sophomore. Woad did just about everything wrong on the par-5 13th — a bad tee shot, the wrong layup, a terrible wedge and a putt down the slope she thought might go into the tributary of Rae’s Creek. It added a bogey on a birdie hole, and she was two behind.

And then she drove into the trees on the 14th and had no chance of hitting the green. Woad made a 10-foot par putt that she considered more valuable than any of her closing birdies.

“If I made bogey there, I was definitely out of it,” Woad said.

She holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 15th and narrowly made one from about the same distance on the next hole.

She set up her last two birdies with ideal drives, leaving her 104 yards to the back pin on the 17th and making the 10-foot birdie putt, and then hitting 9-iron from 130 yards on the 18th to 15 feet behind the hole.

The winning putt was good all the way, and Woad lightly pumped her fist.

“You’re now a part of Augusta National history,” Masters Chairman Fred Ridley said in Butler Cabin, where Woad received a trophy, but no green jacket.

Woad said the victory was another reminder that “I’m never out of it.”

“When it was tough out there, I hung in there. That’s going to give me a lot of confidence,” she said. “Mistakes are bound to happen around this course. I just stayed relatively calm and knew that I could get some back.”

Shoemaker played brilliantly to the dangerous left pin on the par-4 11th and made her final birdie on the par-3 16th with a tee shot that narrowly cleared the bunker by the pond and settled 3 feet away.

Shoemaker had more history at Augusta National, playing practice rounds the last two years and competing in the Drive, Chip and Putt Finals in 2018 in the Girls 12-13 division.

“I came runner-up in that, too,” Shoemaker said with a smile. “It’s an amazing place, awesome that women’s golf is taking a turn for the better.”

Ingrid Lindblad of Sweden, the No. 1 player in the women’s amateur ranking and a fifth-year senior at LSU, had to settle for her third top-3 finish.

She started four shots behind but never got closer than two shots, closing with a 69 to finish alone in third. Lindblad was runner-up at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2022 and tied for third in 2021.

“I feel every time I come in here, I just have a smile on my face. It doesn’t matter how it goes,” Lindblad said. “You’re happy to be here. It’s such an amazing experience and a test for your golf game for sure.”


AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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