Alabama Run Lots Of Fun For BC's Shelly Stouffer
Nanoose Bay Resident Shelly Stouffer (L) Has No Regrets After She Dropped A Close Semi-final Match To Ellen Port (R) At The U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship - Image Courtesy Judith Kyrinis/Twitter
By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf
Disappointed? Of course she is. But Shelly Stouffer is also justifiably proud of the run she made at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in Clear Point, Alabama.
That run took the Nanoose Bay resident all the way to the semi-finals where she lost a hard-fought match on the 18th hole at The Lakewood Club to a woman who is something of a United States Golf Association legend.
Stouffer had a blast. “It was amazing,” she said over the phone from Alabama. “I can’t complain about anything. I had a fabulous time, the people were amazing, the course is awesome. It was just lots of fun.”
The 51-year-old Stouffer had quite the summer. She won her second straight B.C. Senior Women’s title in July at Revelstoke Golf Club. Last month, she won her debut at the Canadian Senior Women’s Championship and for a time it looked like she might make it a hat trick by adding the prestigious U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.
After finishing 10th in the 36-hole stroke play portion of the event and easily advancing to match play, Stouffer won her Round of 64 match 2&1, her Round of 32 match 4&3 and her Round of 16 match 3&1.
That set up what would be a tight quarter-final match with second-seeded Gigi Higgins of Cape Coral, Fla. After losing the first two holes, Stouffer rallied to win the match on the 18th hole. “I was down the whole way in the quarter-finals,” Stouffer said. “The only time I was up was after 18. Gigi played amazing. I was 2-down after two and kind of clawed it back. I hit a lot of good shots.”
That set up her semi-final match later the same day with Ellen Port of St. Louis, a three-time U.S. Senior Women’s champ who was seeking a record (for women) eighth USGA title. The match was a see-saw affair. Stouffer took a 1-up lead on three separate occasions, but each time Port rallied to even the match. It came down to the 18th hole, where Port won it with a birdie. “I can’t feel sad,” Stouffer said. “I hit maybe two bad shots today and Ellen is a tough competitor.”
image credit Kathryn Riley/USGA
Shelly Stouffer On The 13th Green During The Quarter-Finals Of The U.S. Sr. Women's Amateur
Stouffer hit her approach shot on 18 into a greenside bunker, but recovered with a nice shot out of the sand. Port then rolled in an eight-foot putt for birdie that clinched the match. “It was a down-hiller, a totally makable one,” Stouffer said. “She’s a clutch putter. She hit some great shots. When you get to the top four, everyone is pretty darn good. Granted, I could not have hit my approach into a bunker, but I hit a good bunker shot. She makes a birdie to beat me.”
Stouffer was full of praise for fellow Canadian Judith Kyrinis, who caddied for her in both of the quarter-final and semi-final matches that were played in a steady rain. The Ontario Golf Hall of Fame member is a past winner of the Canadian and U.S. Senior Women’s titles. “Judith was awesome,” Stouffer said.
“It was rainy and brutal weather and I can’t thank her enough. She was so positive, she was a big help reading the greens. I don’t know if I would have won my quarter-final match if she hadn’t been caddying for me. That’s how much help she was to me. It was amazing.”
image credit Kathryn Riley/USGA
Fellow Canadian And 2017 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Champion Judith Kyrinis Provided Tremendous Support As A Caddy For Stouffer In Both The Quarter & Semi-Finals
By making it to the semi-finals, Stouffer earned an exemption into the 2022 and 2023 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championships. She’ll be heading north for the 2022 event, which is being played in Anchorage, Alaska. Stouffer’s win at the Canadian Senior Women’s Amateur also earned her an exemption into next year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
CHIP SHOTS: Sandra Turbide of Maple Ridge advanced to match play in Alabama, but lost her Round of 64 match . . .Wednesday’s championship final between Port and two-time defending champion Lara Tennant of Portland was delayed by heavy rain as Tropical Storm Nicholas approached the area.