The Lakeridge graduate reaches the final for the second year in a row and claims this years championship

by: OGA - Kendall Prince, right, holds the trophy she won at this year's Oregon Amateur next to mens' winner Nick Chianello. The Oregon Amateur has usually been an event that didn't fit into Lakeridge graduate Kendall Prince's summer schedule of tournaments. However, after playing in the annual event for the past two years, it may become one of her favorites.

For the second year in a row, Prince made it to the finals of the long tournament which features a combination of stroke and match play. And, after finishing as the runner-up last year, she took home the championship recently in Eugene.

Prince's game has been steadily rounding back into shape this summer after a bout with mono. The illness sapped some of her strength but, heading into the Oregon Am, she felt close to 100%.

It showed early on as she posted strong scores in the stroke play portion of the event, finishing in a tie for the second lowest score over two days.

“I knew there were some tough birdie holes so, strategically I just played to the center of the green and then attacked a few pins,” Prince said.

That gave her an advantageous seed. Prince, the No. 3 seed in the 32-woman bracket, cruised in her opening two matches, winning them 3 and 2 and 7 and 6 respectively.

In the quarterfinals, she played a back-and-forth match against the No. 6 seed, eventually birdying the 17th hole to give her a 2 and 1 victory.

That would become something of a theme for Prince.

In the semifinals, against the No. 3 seed Monica Vaughn, Prince jumped out to a three-hole advantage through the front nine.

She then saw that lead cut to just one after Vaughn birdied the 16th hole. Prince rallied with another birdie at 17 to seal the victory.

In the final, Prince took on Beaverton phenom Gigi Stoll. Prince continued her steady play, rarely finding trouble and getting some consistency out of her putter.

“I really had the speed of the greens down well and that's the hardest thing about that course so it made it easier to focus and I could be a little more aggressive,” Prince said.

Prince held a slim lead for most of the 36-hole final and, again, it was a birdie on the 17th hole which clinched a 3 and 1 victory.

“I hit my wedges really well which is probably the strongest part of my game right now. I stuck it to a foot (on hole 17) twice. The 16th hole is a short par 5 that was reachable for a lot of players and I knew they would birdie it so I had to get it back on 17,” Prince said.

It was a big win for Prince who fell in the final match to Lake Oswego's Amy Beth Simanton last year.

It was also a victory that kick-started what has been a terrific run this summer. Prince would qualify for the US Amateur in South Carolina and then, at the PNGA Women's Amateur, she broke the course record with a stellar 67.

Prince is coming off a solid year at the University of Arizona as well. The Wildcats finished eighth at nationals and Prince is looking forward to helping the team next year.

“I love it. The coaches are awesome and it's so nice to be able to practice year round when it's warm,” Prince said.

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