Inaugural LNGA Championships Begin in Arizona
ANTHEM, Ariz. (April 19) – Four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, of Oakland Park, Fla., and Gretchen Johnson, Portland, Ore., both carded even-par 72 to share the lead in the Mid-Amateur Championship and highly decorated Sara Ingram, of Nashville, Tenn., shot 3-over 75 to pace the Senior Amateur Championship of the Ladies National Golf Association (LNGA) Thursday at Anthem Golf & Country Club.
“It a great golf course which tests you,” said Stasi, an eight-time Florida Amateur Player of the Year. “But the wind died down a little today from the practice rounds and I could attack a few more pins.”
Stasi posted five birdies against three bogeys and a double bogey and finished her up-and-down round with two birdies in the last four holes. Johnson, the 2017 and 2018 Oregon Golf Association Tournament of Champions winner, steadied her way around the course with 16 pars and a birdie and a bogey.
“I kept it where the lawnmower goes most of the day,” said Johnson, a semifinalist at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. “It’s kind of tight, like target golf and I hit a lot of greens and I got it up and down every time.”
Ingram, a 3-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, was three-over through four holes but overcame her early struggles to gain a one-stroke lead over 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Am winner Corey Weworski, of Carlsbad, Calif. Past U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur champion Mina Hardin, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Evelyn Orley, of Cardiff, Calif., trail Ingram by two.
“I had to work hard today,” said Ingram, the three-time USA Curtis Cup team member who will serve as captain of the team in the Match this August in Wales. “It was not an easy 75. I hit some good shots. My game was better than it’s been since coming back two years.”
Lauren Greenlief, of Ashburn, Va., the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and a semifinalist in 2019, and Dawn Woodard, of Greer, S.C., an eight-time winner of the South Carolina State Amateur and three-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur medalist, trailed the Mid-Am leaders by two strokes with two-over-par 74s.
Both championships are 54-hole, stroke-play events in their inaugural year and are conducted by the Ladies National Golf Association. The Mid-Amateur Championship is for players 25-years-old and up with an index in the World Handicap System not exceeding 10.4. The Senior Amateur Championship is for players 50-year-old and up with an index in World Handicap System not exceeding 14.4. The Wilma Cup, in honor of the departed women’s golf advocate and LNGA leader Wilma Gilliland, will be presented to the Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur champions and remain in their custody for a year. Medals will also be awarded to the runner-up
and third-place finisher in each championship.
* Ingram is a member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame and the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame. She came back to golf after a long hiatus to serve as the general chairman of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and to serve as Curtis Cup captain. She won the 2020 Tennessee Women’s Senior Amateur.
* Woodard and Stasi will play together at the 6th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship next week at Maridoe Golf Club in Dallas.
Meghan Stasi: “It is a beautiful venue. The LNGA is doing a great job. It’s fun to have a solid tournament in April.”
“It’s great to be back with friends. We are all talking about where you can go and what you have to do to go anywhere. But, you have to be smart and follow the rules.”
Gretchen Johnson: “Where I’m from in Portland, I’m not used to the grain and the influence of the mountains, but I made a lot of short putts. The firmness of the greens puts a premium on lag putting.”
“The goal is to play a little better each day. If I can continue to keep it in play and putt well everything else should fall into place. There are a lot of great players here. It may be a small field, but it is a strong field with a lot of good players.”
ABOUT THE LADIES NATIONAL GOLF ASSOCIATION (LNGA)
The LNGA is a national volunteer women’s amateur golf association founded in Kansas City Mo. in 1927 to promote amateur golf and good sportsmanship among women golfers and junior girls. Our events are hosted at venues across the United States. The events spotlight the nationally prominent amateur golfer that may be eligible for Curtis Cup team selection along with the skilled players from around the world. The LNGA Amateur, the Women’s Mid-Amateur and the Senior Women’s Amateur are included in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) list of golf championships.
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