Kraus falls to ‘amazing’ Port in U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur
Sughrue men’s runner-up; Phelps in celebrity match
Andrea Kraus of Baltimore lost, 3 and 2, in the final of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at the Wellesley (Mass.) Country Club on Thursday, but there’s hardly any shame in falling short against one of the greatest USGA champions of all time.
Ellen Port of St. Louis earned her seventh career USGA championship, one behind Hall of Famer JoAnne Gunderson Carner.
“Ellen is amazing,” Kraus said. “She’s a lovely human being and I give her incredible kudos. She’s got a family, she does it all.”
In addition to Carner, only Bobby Jones and Tiger Woods with nine, and Jack Nicklaus with eight have won more USGA championships than Port. Port’s 7-1 record is the best among female players who have reached six or more USGA finals.
Port’s only previous meeting with Kraus came 21 years ago in the 1995 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Essex County Club in nearby Manchester-by-the-Sea, where Port won the match and went on to claim her first USGA championship.
In a tight, back-and-forth final, Port took control with winning pars on Nos. 10 and 14, the latter on an 8-foot putt. Port closed out the match on the 16th hole with a two-putt from 30 feet that prevailed over Kraus’ missed 10-footer for par.
Port was the equivalent of 2 under par over 16 holes, with the usual match-play concessions, including a 30-foot birdie on the par-3 12th hole that Kraus matched from half that distance.
Kraus started strong by hitting her approach on the par-4 first hole to 3 feet for a winning birdie. But she gave it back with an errant tee shot on the third hole that stopped inches from going out of bounds. A double-bogey 6 squared the match.
Kraus regained the lead on the next hole when Port missed a 4-foot downhill par putt. Port won Nos. 7 and 8 with conceded birdies for a1-up lead, but Kraus came back with her best shot of the match, a wedge to a foot for a conceded birdie on the par-5 ninth. It would be the last hole she would win. She wound up the equivalent of 4 over for the match.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle all week with my swing,” said Kraus, who went extra holes twice Wednesday to reach the final, defeating medalist Judith Kyrinis in the quarterfinals (21 holes) and defending champion Karen Garcia in the semis (19 holes). “It was sheer grit and determina- tion that really got me here. Maybe yesterday took a little out of me. I didn’t really have my best game, but I had the best that I could do today.
“I wish I could bring home the trophy because Ellen has had it so many times. But that’s because she’s great. This was so exciting. I’m delighted [with my week].”
Port also won the event for players 50-and-over in 2012 and 2013 and the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2011.
“It’s always great to win a USGA championship,” Port said. “You work so hard to get here and it’s just so special when you can finish it off.” Sughrue loses men’s final: Dave Ryan won the U.S. Senior Amateur for his first USGA championship, holding off Matthew Sughrue, a Bethesda Country Club member from Arlington, Va., 2 up, at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.
Sughrue won the opening hole, but Ryan took the next five, making a 12-footer for birdie on No. 2, a two-putt par to Sughrue’s bogey on No. 3, a 7-footer for birdie on No. 4, a 20-footer for birdie on No. 5 and a 15-footer for birdie on the par-5 sixth.
Sughrue rallied to tie, taking the par-4 11th with a par, the par-512th and par-313th with birdies and the par-415th with a par.
Ryan won the 621-yard, par-5 16th with a par. Sughrue missed the green left and down a ridge and his 15-footer for a halve lipped out. They halved the par-317th with pars, and Ryan ended the match with a conceded par on the par-418th.
“It’s disappointing. I felt like I had enough game to come back and win, and it just didn’t fall my way,” Sughrue said. “He’s a great player and he put on a great exhibition today. But I’ll take solace in knowing that I probably shook him up a little bit with some of the shots that I had and made it a match. I’ll take that as a good indication of where my game is in senior amateur golf.” Celebrity match: Michael Phelps and Bill Murray will join Kurt Russell, Rob Riggle and other stars in the Ryder Cup’s Celebrity Match on Tuesday in Chaska, Minn.
The nine-hole scramble show match will pit eight players representing the United States against eight players representing Europe.
Golf tournaments are old hat by now for Phelps, who worked with noted instructor Hank Haney after the London Olympics. After Phelps struggled to break 115 in an 18-hole round, he said in 2013 that he was down to scores in the mid-80s.