Sweet Repeat November 14, 2019 | Cedar Rapids, Iowa By Ron Driscoll, USGA

Fifth-Seeded Tennant Outlasts Wooster in Final for 2nd Consecutive Year


Lara Tennant became the fourth player in the match-play era of the U.S. Senior Women's Am to win consecutive titles. (USGA/Steven Gibbons) 

2019 Championship Recap Home | 2019 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Results

This is the fourth of 15 articles in a series that recaps the 2019 USGA championship season on usga.org over a seven-week period.

The phrase “one-hit wonder” certainly was not uttered on the grounds of Cedar Rapids Country Club during the 58th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. Six of the eight quarterfinalists on the Donald Ross-designed course had reached at least the semifinal round in a previous USGA championship, and one of the two who hadn’t was a two-time British Senior Women’s Amateur champion.

The two finalists represented the first rematch in U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur history: defending champion Lara Tennant, of Portland, Ore., vs. Sue Wooster of Australia, who had fallen to Tennant, 3 and 2, in the 2018 final at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club.

When asked before the rematch what she had taken out of the previous year’s final, Wooster deadpanned, “Losing.” She added, “Imagine, 132 players and it comes down to us again.”

Unfortunately for Wooster, the No. 34 seed, the result again came down to No. 5 seed Tennant’s steady play, and the University of Arizona graduate notched an identical 3-and-2 victory in 2019.

“This week, my swing wasn't as crisp as it was last year,” Tennant admitted. “There were times I was confident this week and I played well, but I would say mentally you just have to grind it out, play against par instead of your opponent. That’s what I continued to do throughout the week, to stay calm.”

Tennant took her first lead in the final when she parred the par-3 eighth hole after Wooster found the water with her tee shot. Wooster then missed three consecutive fairways, and Tennant captured both the 10th and 11th holes with pars to Wooster’s bogeys to take firm control.

“Sue is a tough competitor and a fabulous golfer,” said Tennant, whose father, George Mack Sr., again served as her caddie. “Last year I honestly apologized to Sue for beating her because at this point in the game, when you've played 10 rounds in eight days you’re both exhausted, you both worked hard, you both played well. You don’t get many opportunities to be in the final of a USGA championship.”

Leading 2 up, Tennant got a crucial break on the par-4 14th hole. With both players on the plateau green in two, Tennant hit the flagstick with her putt from 45 feet away, with the ball stopping a few inches from the hole. Had it not hit the stick, it would have rolled several feet past. She halved the hole

“I think that was the critical shot,” said Tennant. “The ball didn’t go in, but it gave me a two-putt on a very long putt. You have to get some of those breaks in order to win.”

Wooster, the No. 34 seed, posted 1-up wins over Laura Webb, of Ireland, in the quarterfinals and Caryn Wilson, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., in the semifinals. In both cases, she parred the 320-yard 18th hole while her opponent struggled with the demanding green. Wooster also defeated seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port on No. 18 in the Round of 32.

“When your swing is a little bit off, you have to learn to play by your gut,” said Wooster, who is a member of Victoria Golf Club outside Melbourne, the same club as Gabriela Ruffels, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion. “My putting kept me in it. I had only one or two three-putts the whole week. And having said that, I didn’t hole any 10-, 15-footers, so that was disappointing.”

Three-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Sarah LeBrun Ingram, 53, who will captain the 2020 USA Curtis Cup Team, returned to competition after nearly two decades away and reached the quarterfinals. 
The Lara Tennant-Sue Wooster final was the ninth rematch in a USGA championship final and the fourth time it occurred in consecutive years.
Lara Tennant became the ninth player to successfully defend her title in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, and fourth to do it since the championship went to a match-play format in 1997.
The most recent player to lose back-to-back USGA finals before Wooster was Davis Riley (2013 and 2014 U.S. Junior Amateurs). Wooster was looking to become the 24th player to win after losing in the final of the same championship the previous year.
2015 runner-up Pam Kuong won back-to-back matches in extra holes, defeating Marilyn Hardy in 24 holes and edging Janet Moore in 19 holes. The victory over Hardy in the Round of 64 tied the record for the longest match in Senior Women’s Amateur history.
Of the nine players who shot 4-over-par 146 or better in stroke play to earn seeds 1-9, seven were USGA champions. Two of those players (Ellen Port and Diane Lang) have won multiple USGA championships.

ICYMI: Other Features From 58th U.S. Senior Women's Amateur