Maddie McCrary Wins 96th WTGA State Amateur
BRYAN – Oklahoma State senior Maddie McCrary made a mile of putts Friday on her way to winning the 96th WTGA State Amateur Championship.
McCrary, a fiery 21-year-old competitor from Wylie, defeated University of Houston senior Allie Andersen, 2 and 1, at Traditions Club. McCrary closed out the hard-fought match in style when she drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole. As her ball fell into darkness, she pumped her fist as an emphatic punctuation.
It was a familiar refrain throughout the day. All square through two holes, McCrary pulled her drive on No. 3 into a hazard. After a drop, she sawed off a wedge to five feet. With Andersen already in close for her par, McCrary seized the moment and buried the par-saving putt.
“It was pretty huge,” said McCrary, who also won the 2015 Texas Women’s Open and is ranked 88th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. “I felt like if I had missed that one, it would’ve been a huge momentum change. I wanted to keep the pressure on, and I was lucky to make it.”
Two holes later, with the match still even, both long-hitting players found the green of the par-5 fifth hole in two shots. Andersen stuck her approach to eight feet; McCrary faced a side-winding 25-footer. With metronome-like tempo, McCrary stroked her putt and held the finish. The ball tracked toward the hole. Before it reached its destination, McCrary already knew she had made the eagle putt. She walked after it and pumped her fist quickly three times as the ball dropped.
“I was feeling it,” she said. “I was kind of like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s get on a roll here.’ I started taking off from there, and that’s what I wanted to do. It felt pretty good.”
Andersen, who twice on Thursday rallied from near-elimination to win in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals, responded with championship-like mettle. She made her eagle putt to halve the hole, but McCrary seemed to steal some of the momentum regardless. Andersen bogeyed the seventh hole to give McCrary a 1-up lead. It stayed that way until they both reached the green of the par-5 eighth hole in regulation.
Once again, Andersen was in tighter; she had 12 feet left for birdie. McCrary, meanwhile, lined up a slow, downhill birdie attempt from 30 feet. As her ball eased toward the hole, McCrary yelled after it: “Go in!”
The ball obeyed and dove in the cup. When Andersen missed her birdie try, McCrary led, 2 up.
The advantage went to 3 up when Andersen failed to save her par on the par-4 ninth hole. The UH senior ranked 438 in the World got one back with 14-foot birdie on the par-4 12th. McCrary maintained her 2-up lead until she finished things on the 17th green.
“Oh my gosh, it was pretty crazy,” McCrary said of the match. “I was trying to play mistake-free golf. She made a lot putts, and I was fortunate to make a lot of putts to cover her. We both played pretty well, and I’m just excited.”
With the victory, McCrary earned 100 TGA Women’s Player of the Year points. Andersen received 75 points for her runner-up performance.
Soft-spoken but fierce in the heat of competition, McCrary joins a long list of impressive WTGA State Amateur champions. It’s a group of some of the most iconic and influential names in the game and includes World Golf Hall of Fame members Sandra Haynie, Sandra Palmer, Betty Jameson and the greatest of them all, Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said McCrary, just one of nine in OSU Women’s golf history to earn All-Big 12 Conference honors three straight years. “Texas produces so many great women golfers, and I’m just excited to be on the list now.”
In a long, hot week that saw temperatures climb into the high 90s with 100+ heat indexes every day, McCrary played six rounds of elite competitive golf in four days. She was the highest-ranked competitor in the talented, 88-player field. She validated her status with the state title.
Here’s a look at McCrary’s path to the 96th WTGA State Amateur Championship:
• Qualifying Round: even-par 72 (T2, No. 2 seed)
• Round of 32: def. No. 31 Emily Gillman, 4 and 3
• Round of 16: def. No. 15 Maddy Rayner, 2 up
• Quarterfinals: def. No. 10 Madison Kidd, 3 and 2
• Semifinals: def. No. 11 Amber Park, 2 and 1
• Finals: def. Allie Andersen, 2 and 1
Andersen was gracious in defeat. She said she had a lot of fun competing against the state’s best players.
“It was an awesome tournament,” she said. “I really started hitting the ball good today. But Maddie had me. She started making a lot of putts, but it was fun to compete in match play because you don’t get to do it very often.”
Andersen’s journey to the title match included one blowout and a series of intense, come-from-behind victories:
• Qualifying Round: even-par 72 (T2, No. 4 seed)
• Round of 32: def. No. 29 Kenzie Wright, 8 and 6
• Round of 16: def. No. 20 Rylee Pedigo, 2 and 1
• Quarterfinals: def. No. 5 Megan Thothong, 1 up
• Semifinals: def. No. 1 Annika Clark, 20 holes
This year’s championship was hosted by Traditions Club, a picturesque Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II-designed par 72 course. A first-shot course with demanding sightlines off the tee, Traditions Club winds throughout mature hardwoods as Turkey Creek and natural wetlands provide hazardous distractions. It’s the home of the Texas A&M Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams and has played host to several elite events, including the 2011 NCAA Women’s Championship. Traditions Club welcomes an NCAA Women’s Regional tournament 2016. It’ll host a Men’s Regional in 2018.
One of the Top 50 courses in Texas according to the Dallas Morning News, the private club also welcomed the 2015 Texas Four-Ball Championship, 2014 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play Championship and annually hosts the Aggie Invitational.
The TGA offers sincere gratitude to Traditions Club, its members, staff and all the volunteers who worked so hard this week to make the 96th WTGA State Amateur a success. Special thanks to Director of Golf Bill Slade, General Manager Bill Horton, Superintendent Jesse Shulse, Head Professional Patrick Ascherl and Food and Beverage Director Tara Turner. Their efforts – and everyone’s efforts – helped make this year’s championship a memorable one. Lastly, we wish a Happy Birthday to longtime TGA volunteer Dianne Dill!
For more information on the 96th WTGA State Amateur, including complete results and the outcomes of all match play flights, please click here.