Tennant toppled in U.S. Senior Women's Amateur match play
It was not to be for local favorite and co-medalist Lara Tennant.
The former University of Oregon women's golf coach lost her first-round match Monday morning in the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur at Waverley Country Club.
After rallying back to all square, Tennant three-putted the 18th for a bogey and fell 1-down to Courtney Myhrum, of Pittsburgh, vice-chair of the USGA Women's Committee and chairwoman of the Girls' Junior Committee.
"I didn't play my best today, but I worked hard on every shot, and that's all you can do in golf," Tennant said. "And I give all the credit to my opponent. She got up and down from places I've never seen people get up and down from."
The national championship for women age 50 and older continues through Thursday. Match-play rounds of 32 and 16 are set for Tuesday. Admission is free.
Tennant, who had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders in recent years, grew up at Waverley and prepared hard for this year's U.S. Senior Women's Am, hoping to make a run in her hometown.
She ran into a foe who scrambled to a 2-up lead through 13 holes in the first match of the day.
Tennant, 50, got even with her only birdies, on the 15th and 16th holes. First, she hit a 9-iron to 12 feet and was conceded that putt by the 55-year-old Myhrum, who bogeyed. On the par-3 16th, Tennant hit a "great 6-iron" to 20 feet and holed the putt.
Both players parred the par-5 17th. On the par-5 18th, Myhrum hit her third shot to the back fringe while Tennant left her shorter pitch some 30 feet short.
Tennant ran the uphill putt three feet past the cup, leaving her a tricky comeback. Myhrum nearly sank her birdie try and settled for par. Then Tennant missed her par putt to the left.
"That second putt had some break to the left. I went through my routine and felt comfortable over it. But I just pulled it," she said.
Tennant's caddy, also her father and longtime Oregon amateur standout George Mack Sr., consoled her for a few moments on the final green.
"He said, 'I love you. I am proud of you,'" Tennant said. "I felt so much support from both sides of my family. I am the luckiest golfer out here."
Myhrum had reason to be as surprised as anyone with the result.
She hadn't been playing much golf, and "I had no expectations when I got here."
Myhrum needed some heroics just to make it to match play. On Sunday, she took a quadruple-bogey 9 on the 8th hole, her next to last over the two days of qualifying. But she birdied the par-3 9th to get into a seven-player playoff for the final six spots. On the second playoff hole, she sank a 65-foot birdie putt to gain the 64th seed.
Myhrum knew her Monday task wouldn't be easy, because Tennant "knows all the greens and knows everything and has the crowd behind her."
Tennant was 1-up after the first and fourth holes, but never led the rest of the way. She shot about 78, after going 73-73 during the stroke-play rounds.
Myhrum, meanwhile, settled into a rhythm in the head-to-head battle.
"I felt so much better than I did in qualifying," Myhrum said. "It seemed like every shot (Saturday and Sunday) was labor intensive. … Today it was just a beautiful walk in the park.
"Lara hits it farther than me … but chipping and putting are the strengths of my game — I typically hit four or five greens in regulation and have eight or nine one-putts. I'm not proud of it, but that's my game."
On Monday, that was good enough to advance, as did co-medalist Helene Chartrand of Quebec, Canada. She downed Nanette Seman of Murrieta, Calif, 6 and 5.
Defending champion Ellen Port of St. Louis, the 19th seed, got through 2 and 1 over Leeann Lewis of West Gilgo Beach, New York.
Third-seeded Corey Weworski, of Carlsbad, Calif., moved on with a 1-up triumph over Lisa Schlesinger of Fort Meyers, Florida.
The 12th seed, Evelyn Orley of Switzerland, with former LPGA standout Liselotte Neumann on her bag, won on the 18th hole against Tina Barker of Fairfield, California.
Two other golfers from Oregon weren't so fortunate.
Anita Wicks, a former Oregon State player from Roseburg, fell 2 and 1 to Lynne Cowan of Rocklin, California.
Terri Frohnmayer of Salem, seeded 18th, lost with a bogey on the 18th, 1-down, to Canada's Terrill Samuel.