Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship
Hamilton, MA — On the same day that one University of Michigan alum was celebrating a milestone in Massachusetts, it was another athlete with ties to the Wolverines Athletic Program who was making quite the name for herself, overcoming a late deficit in the final match to win the 114th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship.
With a Tom Brady Michigan head cover on her Titleist 916 driver, East Falmouth’s Hannah Ghelfi (Pocasset Golf Club), a soon to-be sophomore for the Michigan Women’s Golf Team, overcame a 3-down deficit to defeat Angela Garvin (The Ranch GC) by a 2-up margin at Myopia Hunt Club Thursday afternoon.
“I played in this tournament a bunch of times and normally haven’t done all that well, so I was very excited today,” said Ghelfi after winning her final match Thursday.
Just like a certain No. 12 did nearly six months ago to the date in Houston, the 20-year-old Ghelfi trailed as much as 3-up after eight holes on Thursday in the final match of the Championship division before slowly inching her way back into the match.
After winning both the 9th and 10th holes when her opponent carded back-to-back bogeys, Ghelfi remained 1-down until the 13th hole when her made par brought the match back to all square.
Before she could start thinking about a victory, the 2016 Lawrence Academy graduate Ghelfi had to figure out how to overcome her early deficit, the result of three straight bogeys on Holes 3, 4 and 5.
“Well, I was trying to think that I still had a lot of golf to play,” said Ghelfi. “After I lost the three holes in a row, I just wanted to tie one to get myself back and things kind of turned around from there. I was thinking about Rocky Balboa and how he always comes back. I’m a huge Rocky Balboa fan, and he’s a big comeback guy.”
Whether it was the Balboa in her mind or the Brady on her bag, Ghelfi’s approach towards a championship took off after squaring the match on the 13th hole.
“I was just hitting fairways and hitting greens and hitting good putts,” said Ghelfi. “The first few holes I missed some short putts and that really killed me. I made everything that I felt like I should have made on the back. That was definitely big.”
Ghelfi made birdie the 428-yard par 4 15th hole and took her first lead since the first hole – a lead that would not let up. After recording matching scores with Garvin on both the 16th and 17th holes, she tallied her second birdie of the day on the par-4 18th hole to win the match and the seal the victory, one of the biggest victories of her young career.
“This is probably up there,” said Ghelfi. “I’ve never really won anything big so this is pretty big for me.”
After finishing T-2 in the stroke play portion of the Championship earlier in the week, Ghelfi drew the fourth seed in the match play bracket and defeated the likes of Mary Jane Wagner (3&1), Julia Ford (4&3) and Jennifer Keim (4&3) on Tuesday and Wednesday before advancing to the final two matches on Thursday.
In the semifinal match Thursday morning, Ghelfi defeated Tracy Martin (Fresh Pond GC), a two-time runner up in the annual summer event, 5&4, to set up the final match between Garvin and herself.
Garvin, the reigning WGAM Junior Amateur Player of the Year and one of two Massachusetts natives who will compete in next week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at San Diego Country Club (CA), defeated Claire Sheldon, 2&1, in the second semifinal match Thursday morning. Sheldon was a former golfer at Harvard University who has held two different posts as assistant coach for the Crimson over the past decade.
The Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Tournament, conducted by the WGAM and hosted this year at the Myopia Hunt Club on the North Shore, began Monday as 64 of the state’s female competitors faced off in the opening round of stroke play.
From there, the event was divided into two series of match play brackets competing for the Championship title and the President’s Cup, awarded to the winner of the tournament’s second flight. Match play began Tuesday morning and concluded Thursday with the final matches in both the Championship flight and the President’s Cup flight.
In the President’s Cup match play bracket for the tournament’s second flight, Elizabeth Corcoran (Oyster Harbors Club) defeated Caroline Schernecker (The Country Club) by a final score of 4&2, while Ghelfi picked up her biggest victory before heading back to Ann Arbor.
As a freshman in the 2016-17 season, Ghelfi played in two tournaments as an individual and helped U-M earn their second straight NCAA regional team bid at the NCAA Columbus Regional before the team advanced to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
As for any luck the New England Patriot quarterback brought to Ghelfi, her explanation spoke for itself.
“I carry [Tom Brady] on my bag,” said Ghelfi. “Before the match, I was hoping that Tom Brady drives me to victory because he’s the head cover of my driver and it’s his birthday.”
In typical fashion, it’s safe to say TB12 came through again.