Kim-Schaad Captures Title With 3-and-2 Win Over Fellow New York City Resident Campbell
It is just over 2,300 miles from Midtown Manhattan to the high terrain of Forest Highlands Golf Club. Yet the 33rd U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship came down to a battle of two New York City residents – Talia Campbell and Ina Kim-Schaad.
Kim-Schaad, 35, who returned to golf in 2016 after a hiatus of more than a decade, took control of the match early and went on to post a 3-and-2 victory over Campbell, 25, in the 18-hole final on the Meadow Course at Forest Highlands.
Afterward, Kim-Schaad – who was the runner-up in the 2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior – talked about walking away from the game as she immersed herself in her career, then being rejuvenated when her then-boyfriend, Ian Schaad, coaxed her to play.
“I had closed that chapter of the book, and I kind of moved on,” said Kim-Schaad. “I was doing so many other things with my life, and then I met Ian, and he was the one who got me back interested in it. It happens very quickly, it really does. The first few birdies and then, you know, you’re hooked again.”
Kim-Schaad, a native of Los Angeles who graduated from Northwestern University in 2005, became the third champion to earn an exemption into the U.S. Women’s Open, which will be played in May 2020 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.
Kim-Schaad won the first and third holes with pars, and from that point on her lead fluctuated between 1 up and 2 up, until the final hole. She sealed her victory on holes 15 and 16, first with a par-saving 6-footer on the short par-4 15th to Campbell’s bogey, followed by a winning birdie putt from 12 feet on the par-4 16th hole.
Kim-Schaad, who was competing in her eighth USGA championship, was the No. 11 seed after qualifying rounds of 73-72 for 1-over 145. Campbell, 25, earned the No. 20 seed and was playing in her first year of age eligibility after graduating from the University of Notre Dame.
“I tend to get overly amped up, so I was just trying to calm myself down a little bit, just so that I don't get a little too crazy with my yardages,” said Kim-Schaad, whose husband, Ian, caddied for her all week. “I tried to think of it as just another golf round, which I know is really hard to do, and I don’t know if I did a great job at it but that was my intent when I started the day.”
Campbell, who grew up in Dallas and works with noted instructor Cameron McCormick, trimmed her deficit to one hole a couple of times, but was unable to draw even as a couple of birdie chances slipped by on Nos. 9 and 10. Kim-Schaad went back to 2 up when Campbell three-putted the par-3 11th and conceded Kim-Schaad’s short birdie putt.
“I had a lot of good birdie looks but I just was not able to convert the 10-to 20-foot putts this week,” said Campbell, who was competing in her fourth USGA championship and first since the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur. “That was kind of the theme of my week, because most of the birdies I did get were more or less tap-ins or inside of 6 feet. It’s just the 10-to-20-foot range that wasn't there this week.”
Kim-Schaad did not need to play the 17th or 18th holes in any of her six matches, and played a total of 89 holes in match play. The record for fewest holes for a champion was set in the inaugural playing in 1987 when Cindy Scholefield played only 81 holes at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
|The last time two players from the same hometown competed in a USGA final was in 1990 when Phil Mickelson defeated fellow San Diego, Calif., resident Manny Zerman in the U.S. Amateur championship match.|
|Martha Leach, 57, of Hebron, Ky., extended a pair of championship records, for most starts with 31 and for most times advancing to match play with 29.|
|Four-time champion Meghan Stasi lost to Ina Kim-Schaad in the semifinals. Stasi now has a 52-10 record in 14 starts in this championship.|
|Four-time champion Ellen Port (with 60 victories, including one in 2019), and two-time champion Carol Semple Thompson (56) lead the way in match-play wins in Women’s Mid-Am history.|
|“The best way to describe this is it’s the biggest championship for someone over 25 who’s not professional. This is the biggest one in the world.” – Andrea Kosa, of Canada, who reached the quarterfinals|
|Five players 50 or older advanced to the Round of 32, but all of them were eliminated in that round. The group included four-time champion Ellen Port and 2009 champion Martha Leach.|