LOUDONVILLE – A pair of former runner-ups in their respective divisions finally broke through for the ultimate prize Friday at Schuyler Meadows Club.
Marianna Monaco of Yonkers, who lost in a playoff to eventual champion Bailey Cocca of Latham last season, won the 88th annual New York State Women’s Amateur by four strokes, while Lauren Cupp of Rome, the assistant men’s and women’s golf coach at Hamilton College, finally won the New York State Women’s Mid-Amateur crown after several second-place finishes.
The long-hitting Monaco surged to her championship with a brilliant 69 (-3) for a three-day total of 217 (+1) and four-shot victory over first-round leader Alexis Hios of Towson University (77-221). Two of Hios’ Towson teammates, Alix Lowe of Colonial Springs GC (81-223) and Jenny Buchanan, who grew up in Loudonville and played the host club all her life (79-227), finished third and fourth, respectively. Siena’s Sara Riso (79-227) tied Buchanan for fourth.
Shaker High School graduate Madison Braman, headed to William & Mary this fall, finished T8 with a 79-232.
In the NYS Women’s Mid-Am division, Cupp (76-231) edged Julie Murphy of Brookfield CC (75-232) by one shot. Mary Scatena of Pinehaven CC topped the Capital Area contingent by finishing T5 with an 83-242.
Monaco, who began her collegiate career at Newberry University, where she was an all-conference player of the year, transferred to the University of South Carolina, where she has just a few credits remaining before graduating. She said winning the NYS Women’s Amateur crown was right near the top of her career accomplishments, along with winning a collegiate event and finishing in the top 15 at the North Tennessee Open.
She said that losing last year’s State Am in a playoff was more of a learning experience than a blemish on her career. “I learned that it’s tough playing with the lead in the final round,” she said.
“This year, I had five birdies in the first round, and I still shot 73. Then, I had only two birdies and shot 75 in the second round,” she said. “In the final round, I tried to stay patient. I was probably the most aggressive the first day. Today, I had the right yardages with my clubs.”
Monaco started opening up a big lead on the back nine with back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. She reached the par-5 13th in two but three-putted for par. The Towson duo of Hios and Lowe just couldn’t catch her on a very windy day with relatively high scores throughout the field.
“It was tough out there. I wasn’t putting very well again today,” said Hios, the 2013 NYS Junior Girls champ. “Marianna hits a long ball. She was probably 80 yards ahead of me, although that’s probably a little bit of an exaggeration. We played on the state team in high school together, and we know each other very well. She played phenomenal today.”
Buchanan, who also finished fourth in last year’s NYS Women’s Am, said her course played tougher than the first two days. “It was very windy,” she said. “It was just one of those days when I couldn’t make any putts. I worked very hard to get up and down. Still, it feels good the way I played this tournament, and I see a lot of progress in my game. I’m also proud of my Towson teammates. Everybody played well.”
Braman’s problems revolved around her driver: “Today, I wasn’t hitting my driver well at all. I put myself into some tough positions. But it was really fun playing in this tournament. I met a lot of the players who I’ve played against in tournaments before. It was a great learning experience.”
SPEEDY MID-AM WINNER
Cupp, 32, the NYS Women’s Mid-Am runner-up in 2015, also finished runner-up in the Speedgolf World Championships at the Glen Club in Illinois in 2015, shooting a 21-over-par 93 in only 58 minutes.
“My husband is the No. 1 speedgolf player in the world, and I’m No. 3 or 4,” Cupp noted. “We’ve got a 5-month daughter and a 3-year-old, so it’s tough to spend five hours on a golf course. It’s a lot easier to spend 25 minutes for nine holes or 45 minutes for 18 holes. That’s why we got into speedgolf. You bring up to seven clubs when you play, and you’re running virtually the whole time. I find it’s toughest when I’m on the greens, and it makes playing regular tournament golf like today seem very slow.”
Outside of her speedgolf performances, Cupp said winning the NYS Women’s Mid-Am crown is the highlight of her career. “This is the No. 1 title I’ve wanted since I turned 25 years old,” she said. “I’ve been runner-up twice and I finished third once. This is just awesome.”
Scatena topped the Capital Area NYS Women’s Mid-Amateur contingent, despite competing in her first three-day tournament. “Having never played a three-day championship tournament before it was hard to focus all the time,” she said. ‘I kind of fell off after I missed an eagle putt. But I met a lot of new people, and I enjoyed myself.”
NYS WOMEN’S AMATEUR
217 (+1) Marianna Monaco (NYSGA e-Club) 73-75-69
221 (+5) Alexis Hios (Westchester CC) 68-76-77
223 (+7) Alix Lowe (Colonial Springs GC) 70-72-81
227 (+11) Jenny Buchanan (Schuyler Meadows Club) 71-77-79
227 (+11) Sara Riso (NYSGA e-Club) 71-77-79
230 (+14) Chelsea Danonio (Fox Valley Club) 76-80-74
230 (+14) Ina Kim (Deepdale GC) 70-81-79
232 (+16) Kristen Bromley (Locust Hill CC) 76-77-79
232 (+16) Kyra Cox (Centennial GC) 78-77-77
232 (+16) Madison Braman (Shaker Ridge CC) 76-77-79
NYS WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR
231 (+12) Lauren Cupp (Yahnundasis GC) 80-75-76
232 (+13) Julie Murphy (Brookfield CC) 77-80-75
235 (+16) Kim Kaul (Gowanda CC) 78-79-78
240 (+21) Teresa Cleland (Bellevue CC) 83-80-77
242 (+23) Louise-Ann Morin (McCann GC) 83-77-82
242 (+23) Mary Scatena (Pinehaven CC) 81-78-83
243 (+24) Mary Sicard (Queensbury CC) 85-80-78
243 (+24) Nancy Kroll (Pinehaven CC) 81-79-83
245 (+26) Tammy Blyth (Monroe GC) 82-85-78
245 (+26) Mary Jo Kelly (Wolferts Roost CC) 83-83-79
Other Capital Area players
T12 248 (+29) Patricia Mayne (Cedar Lake) 79-86-83
14 249 (+30) Mary Ellen Burt (Mohawk GC) 86-81-82
15 253 (+34) Karen Feldman (Olde Kinderhook GC) 83-78-92