Top Two Seeds Advance at 95th WTGA State Amateur
DALLAS—Overall No. 1 seed Rylee Pedigo from Fort Worth survived a marathon match Wednesday against Lubbock’s Marian Barker in the 95th WTGA State Amateur Championship’s Round of 16. Pedigo, a junior at Oklahoma, needed 21 holes to stave off Barker, a two-time Women’s Senior Stroke Play Champion.
“She gave me a run for my money,” Pedigo said with a huge exhale. “It feels incredible and gets me pumped for tomorrow’s match. It also lets me know I can fight my way back.”
Pedigo, who shot 1-under 70 to claim Medalist honors in Tuesday’s Qualifying Round, had a 2-up lead through 14 holes on Barker. Barker birdied the 15th and 16th holes to draw even. The two matched pars for the next four holes until Pedigo ended it with a par on the 21st hole.
“I was a scrambling fool,” said Barker, who won the 2011 Women’s Four-Ball with Ryann White. Barker also has won the Women’s West Texas tournament numerous times. “I must’ve been so frustrating to play against. I was getting up and down from everywhere. I didn’t expect to go that far, but I don’t ever quit. I just keep playing.”
All the winners from Wednesday morning’s Round of 32 matches went back out on the course for Round 16 matches. A two-hour, eight-minute weather delay for lightning in the area, however, put a halt to play during the afternoon. Play resumed at 5:23 p.m., and all eight Championship Bracket matches were completed.
Defending champion and No. 2 seeded Annika Clark from Highlands struck a decisive Round of 16 victory with a 6-and-5 win against Melanie Willhite from Farmer’s Branch. Clark, in the morning’s Round of 32 match, was pushed to the limit when she defeated 2009 U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur champion and longtime Brook Hollow member Carolyn Creekmore, 2 up, on the 18th hole.
“She hits it so good,” Creekmore said of Clark, a sophomore at TCU. “She really hit her driver beautifully today.”
Creekmore, who won the WTGA State Am in 1995, has been a member at iconic Brook Hollow since 1989. She said she loves the A.W. Tillinghast design and has “easily played over 5,000 rounds” on the par-71 track that was built in 1920. Many champions have been crowned on the tree-lined golf course; it has hosted nine Texas Amateurs and seven Trans-Miss Amateurs in addition to scores of other amateur tournaments. When Creekmore explained what she loves about the shot-maker’s course, she also shed light on how to try and attack it.
“I think Tillinghast is a genius,” she said. “As big and open as this place looks, there’s only one place on every fairway to get to the optimal angle for the best chance at birdie. This golf course challenges you every day. If you’re hitting it well and putting well, you can score out here. If not, whew, it can get scary.”
In one of the biggest upsets of the day, 19th-seeded Brooke McDougald from The Woodlands took down No. 3 seed Rachel Smith from Mansfield in the Round of 16. McDougald, also a TCU sophomore, scored a 3-and-2 victory over the seasoned Smith, who has competed in the past three U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs.
Thirteenth-seeded Grace Choi, a recent Michigan grad from Dallas, also notched an upset in the Round of 16. Choi knocked off fourth-seeded Amber Park of Allen, 4 and 3. Park was the Junior Medalist with a 1-over 72 in Tuesday’s Qualifying Round.
Trophy Club’s Maty Monzingo, a Texas State senior and the No. 9 seed, defeated Midlothain’s Lydia Traylor, 8 and 7, in the Round of 16. Traylor was the eighth seed. Monzingo earlier in the day defeated 24th-seeded Erin Fahey from Austin, 2 and 1.
Also advancing through the Round of 16 and into Thursday’s Quarterfinals were fifth-seeded Brielle Ward from Frisco, who needed 19 holes to hold off 12th-seeded Emma Ballard from Kingwood, and No. 7 seed and last year’s runner-up Maddy Rayner, who defeated 10th seeded Paige Nelson from Farmers Branch, 3 and 2. Allen’s Julie Houston, the No. 11 seed and winner of the 2015 Women’s Eclectic, moved on to the Quarterfinals with a 2-and-1 victory in the Round of 16 against Camry Tardy from Arlington.
After Tuesday’s 18-hole Qualifying Round, the top 32 players on the leaderboard advanced to the Championship Bracket. The other 56 players were divided into seven flights based on their GHIN Handicap Indexes. For information on Flights 1-7, click here.
Quarterfinals Matches for the Championship Flight begin Thursday at 8 a.m., followed by the Semifinals Matches in the afternoon. The climatic 18-hole Championship Match will be played Friday at 10:20 a.m. For more information on the 95th WTGA State Amateur, click here.