Jennifer Song, 19, of Ann Arbor, Mich., earned a 3-and-1 victory over Jennifer Johnson, 18, of La Quinta, Calif., to win the 109th U.S. Women’s Amateur at the par-71, 6,468-yard Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis and, simultaneously, added her name to the history books.
Song, who won the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in June, became the second female in history to win two USGA championships in the same year. Pearl Sinn also won the Women’s Amateur and WAPL in 1988. There have also been five male golfers to win two USGA titles in the same year, including Bob Jones in 1930.
I can’t put into words how honored I am, said Song, a sophomore-to-be at the University of Southern California. It’s been a long time since Pearl Sinn won two in one year in 1988, which is one year before I was even born.
But it didn’t come easily.
Johnson, who hadn’t trailed at any point through her first five matches of the championship, continued that trend, building a 4-up lead through the first 10 holes of the morning 18. She made three birdies and took advantage of a bogey by Song on the ninth hole.
But Song didn’t get discouraged, thanks to positive words from her father/caddie, Museok.
My dad kept telling me, ‘Jennifer, you’re going to win. You’re a great player,’ said Song. Throughout the whole round he kept me in a positive mind and he kept making me smile.
Song started to chip away at Johnson’s lead, winning the 11th and 12th with birdies. She squared the match on No. 18 when Johnson three-putted for the second time in five holes.
When the afternoon round started, Song came out firing. Johnson’s streak of never trailing ended after 95 holes when Song birdied the 19th to take a 1-up lead. She birdied the next hole to build her lead to 2 up and increased it to a 3-up advantage when Johnson bogeyed the 27th hole of the match.
But Johnson wasn’t dismayed because she trailed for the first time in the championship.
I was actually kind of glad I got behind because then I could just get that out of my head and come back strong, said Johnson, an incoming freshman at Arizona State University.
And that’s exactly what she did, winning three of the next four holes to again square the match. But Song would not be denied. She made a 7-footer for par on the 33rd hole to again regain the lead and made it a 2-up advantage with a 6-footer for birdie on No. 34. When Johnson couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-3 35th, Song claimed her second USGA crown of the year.
For Song, the victory was particularly emotional. Her mother, who was not present for her triumph at the Women’s Amateur Public Links at Red Tail Golf Club in Devens, Mass., in June, was at Old Warson and was able to watch her daughter hoist the Robert Cox Trophy.
It’s been a while since she’s seen me win and really hold on to the trophy and smile, said Song, who enjoyed a tearful embrace with her mother at the match’s conclusion. When I hugged my dad at the end, my tears weren’t out yet, but when I saw mom, you know that feeling when you see your mom. It’s your mom, so you just cry.
When asked to compare her victory at the WAPL and the Women’s Amateur, Song was reluctant to name her favorite.
Both are very satisfying, said Song, who also claimed low-amateur honors at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open. You cannot replace winning a championship, and both are very prestigious, so I’m very happy for it.