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Thomas Wins 111th Pacific Northwest Women's Amateur; Stouffer Takes Pacific Northwest Women's Mid-Amateur
In 1899, Mrs. Melbourne Bailey's name was etched on a trophy as the first-ever Pacific Northwest Women's Amateur champion. On Friday, Mrs. Bailey was joined Spokane's Chessey Thomas, who forged a 4 & 3 victory in the championship match over Amanda Baker of Nanaimo, B.C. at Bear Mountain Golf Resort in Victoria, B.C.
In their 36-hole championship battle, No. 3 seed Thomas went 1-down when Baker, the No. 8 seed, birdied the par-4 fourth. But Thomas responded with back-to-back birdies on the next two holes for a 1-up lead. Over the next five holes, Thomas went 4-up, only to see Baker recover and get the match all-square after the first 18. "I hit a few errant tee shots and she kept it in play. I really tried not to get frustrated," Thomas said. "We were pretty evenly matched so it was not a shock. It was what I expected."
On the par-3 20th hole, Thomas made birdie to take the lead again and seemed to grab the momentum. "Once that putt rolled in, I felt it shift a little bit and for me, mentally, I was going to ride that out as far as I could."
Thomas went to a 4-up lead through 25 holes, but Baker would make one last valiant effort with a birdie on the 27th but it was not enough to overcome Thomas' steadiness down the stretch as five straight pars sealed the 4 & 3 victory. Thomas found a place among the greatest Pacific Northwest women's amateur champions, a list that includes 1978 champion and namesake of the medalist trophy, Liz Culver.
"It means a lot," said Thomas, a member of the Tennessee Lady Vols golf team. "I took a lot of time off after Nationals, so to come back and win my first event in two years feels really good. I can look back at this and be pretty proud of myself." Thomas.
Thomas played over 130 holes in one week. "I didn't know if I was ready for this but I made it," she said with a sigh of relief. "I'm very tired but it felt good to finish strong. Amanda (Baker) finished strong so I feel pretty blessed to be standing here."
In the Women's Mid-Amateur championship match, Shelly Stouffer of Nanoose Bay, B.C., finished off a remarkable week with a 5 & 4 victory over Leslie Folsom of Seattle to win the 11th Pacific Northwest Women's Mid-Amateur Championship. The victory capped off a successful stretch for Stouffer, who recently won the British Columbia Master-40 Championship and placed third in the British Columbia Mid-Amateur.
Stouffer birdied the par-5 first hole and built a 3-up lead after five. Folsom won the sixth hole to reduce the margin to 2-up, but that was as close as the match would get. Stouffer went 3-under-par over the next eight holes, including three of her six birdies on the day, for the win.
Stouffer's putter was the difference. "I love my belly putter," she said. "It worked well this week. After the first round (of stroke play qualifying) when I shot a big number, it's been awesome . . . I kept hitting it close and she could not make any headway."
The above report is courtesy of the PNGA. For more information and scoring details, visit www.thepnga.org.
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