Royal/Varma and Bryan/Summerhays Qualify for 2021 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball

By Brianna Gianiorio

MESA, Ariz. – The duos of Meghan Royal and Anika Varma and Sydney Bryan and Grace Summerhays punched tickets to the 6th U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship, advancing out of a qualifier at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa on Tuesday.

“We complimented each other a lot, we kind of just had one of us make par and the other just go for it and play aggressive and see if we could make birdie,” said Royal, a junior at Carlsbad High School.

“We played according to each other, which helped us a lot just because we knew when a person was confident and wasn’t,” Varma said.

USGA qualifying is officially back in action after COVID-19 forced golf associations to postpone, and in some cases cancel, qualifiers in 2020. 2021 U.S. Four-Ball Championship qualifiers are the first to resume, where a total of 64 teams across 29 states will advance to the 2021 women’s championship, which will be held April 24-28, 2021, at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Tex.

Danielle Chipchase and Naomi Ramirez, along with Abbey Schutte and Kendall Todd, will serve as first and second alternates.

Both 16-year-old girls hailing from California, Royal and Varma combined to card a 10-under 62 and clear the field by four shots for medalist honors. With consistent play over 18 holes, the pair pieced together their impressive round with eight birdies and an eagle.

Varma, a Junior at Granite Bay High School in Roseville, qualified for her third USGA Championship. As a top-225 amateur in the world and No. 1 ranked amateur in India, Varma became the first Indian golfer to play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship this past August, and is looking forward to playing in her first four-ball championship.

“I feel like it’s going to be really interesting because it’s going to be completely different than how you generally play,” said Varma.  “We’re going to be playing for each other and that’s going to motivate us more than playing for yourself. It should be fun.”

Bryan and Summerhays birdied four of their last six holes to finish with a 6-under 66, and advance to a five-for-one sudden death playoff. A birdie on the first playoff hole proved to be the deciding moment the team picked up the second and final qualifying spot.

“We got off to a kind of a slow start, but once we made the turn, we kind of just built off each other’s enthusiasm,” said the 17-year-old Bryan, a UNLV commit. “It was kind of insane, the back nine. We made ridiculous putts. I think we are a little shocked.”

“Our adrenaline was definitely going on the last couple of holes,” said the 16-year-old Summerhays, who will play in her third USGA Championship. “It was not looking too good on the front nine so we are more in shock. We’re excited.

For Full Qualifying Results: Click Here


Robin Krapfl Prevails at Women’s Senior Stroke Play

By Brianna Gianiorio

GILBERT, Ariz.- Robin Krapfl edged out Judy Penman after a final round 2-over 73 to claim the Arizona Women’s Senior Stroke Play Championship at Trilogy Golf Club at Power Ranch on Friday.

Shannon Mason and Kathy West rounded out the top four at 19-over, 12 shots behind the champion.

36-hole leader Krapfl carried the field by two shots in front of Penman after logging rounds of 75 and 72. Kathy West entered the final round five behind the lead, but it was a head-to-head battle between Penman and Krapfl the entire final 18.

Leveraging the more forgiving front nine, Penman jolted from two back into the co-lead after just four holes, recording two consecutive birdies on 3 and 4.

“I realize the front nine is definitely easier than the back nine so my idea was to get a couple birdies on the front nine,” said Penman. “My strategy whenever I play competition is to keep my blinders on and play my own game.”

Placing a birdie on the scorecard on the par-3 eighth had Krapfl regain the lead to finish the turn with her third consecutive front-nine 1-under 34; a solo shot ahead of Penman.

“It was between Judy and I, especially how well we played on the front nine. I really felt comfortable on the front,” the champion said. “She continued the battle-she never gave up.”

A back nine streak of five pars from the dual kept the lead to a slim one shot. A bogey on 15 from Penman extended Krapfl’s lead to three. After Judy hiccupped with a 3-putt double bogey on 16, the gap closed to one heading into the final hole.

“It went back and forth all day,” said the champion. “I kept telling myself ‘just one shot at a time’ and all the mantra of ‘just play your own game’. It was close the whole way. It was a battle.”

A pair of bogeys from the dual on the final hole determined Krapfl’s first Arizona Senior Stroke Play Victory rounding out at 7-over par for the three-day tournament.

“It is beyond thrilling to be able to win against the qualitative players there are in Arizona,” said Robin, who moved to the desert from Nebraska this past May. “Judy was a tremendous competitor it was really fun-we both played great golf”

She credits her improved iron play for her victory. “I got new irons and I hadn’t been hitting them well, but all of a sudden, this week, I hit great irons so it just all fell into place.”

This victory marks the champion’s first Arizona amateur title after just three starts in the Valley.

“I won the Nebraska Senior State Championship last summer and really wanted to defend but then moved down here,” said Krapfl, a Nebraska native. “The competition down here is so steep that I really didn’t know if I would have a chance.

Full Results: Click Here


Wiemiller, Ellenburg, Stamey Win Arizona Senior Match Play Titles

MARICOPA, Ariz. – Aaron Wiemiller, Frank Ellenburg and Alex Stamey took home top honors in their respective divisions at the 2020 Arizona Senior Match Play Championship, played Thursday at Southern Dunes Golf Club.

“I’ve won some club championships growing up and I’ve advanced quite far in some other Match Play events, but I never thought this would happen.” said the champion, “I’m going to cherish this win.”

Wiemiller, the 2019 AGA Masters Player of the Year, beat Mark Ewing 3&1 in the Masters Division. Wiemiller was one down going into the ninth hole but was able to make a birdie to bring the match back to even. He then made birdie on 10 to go one up, followed that up with a long par putt on 11, and never lost momentum to the finish.

“My putter was working well today,” said Wiemiller. “I made some long putts for par, eight to ten footers, and I also made some birdie putts, which you need in match play”.

In the Legends Division, Frank Ellenburg raced to a 7&5 victory over Bob Burton. While the result on paper looked like a blowout, the match was far from a stroll in the park for Ellenberg, who admitted feeling nervous the entire match.

“I just couldn’t get the butterflies out of my system, but I think sometimes that’s good,” said Ellenberg. “This is something that I really – I can’t explain it but I really wanted to win it pretty bad. I can’t tell you how happy I am.”

Ellenburg was three up through nine then ran away with the match on the back nine with birdies on holes 10 and 11, followed by an eagle on 13. The win is his first match play tournament victory in Arizona.

In contrast, Stamey and John Hernandez had a battle on their hands going back and forth through 18 holes, ultimately needing 20 holes to crown Stamey the Seniors Division champion.

“It was a very close match between John and I, the most he was up was one,” said Stamey. “I was not up at all the whole match, until the winning a whole on the 19th.”

For Stamey, this is his first Arizona Golf Association title, as he just moved to the Grand Canyon State from Oregon.

I just got involved last summer,” said Stamey. “I love the events here and it’s just it’s a lot of fun. I love to competitive golf.”

Full Results: Click Here