Meghan Stasi figured she would have to be in top form to knock off junior phenom Alexa Pano – 26 years her junior – in the championship match of the 86th Ione D. Jones/Doherty Championship at Coral Ridge Country Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Stasi, a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion from Oakland Park, Fla., delivered with a five-birdie performance to defeat her 2017 USGA Women’s State Team Championship teammate, 5 and 4, in the 18-hole final.
This was the second title for the 39-year-old Stasi in the last six years. Pano, 13, was the defending champion.
Stasi and her hot putter built a 4-up advantage after seven holes, and closed out the match with a 33-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th hole.
“I knew she had a good chance of making par there,” Stasi said. “All I really wanted to do was two-putt and I made a good stroke.
“It’s a good win. A very good win.”
Added Pano: “She just played lights out. There’s nothing you can do about that.”
In the semifinals, Stasi holed out a 50-degree wedge from 112 yards on the 17th hole en route to a 2-up win over Noelle Martz.
Past champions of the Jones/Doherty include USGA champions JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Patty Berg, Marlene Stewart Streit, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Lexi Thompson and Vickie Goetze.
Koepka Sidelined With Wrist Injury
Reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka first noticed the pain in his left wrist while playing the Hero World Challenge last month in the Bahamas. When the Floridian competed – and finished last – in the Sentry World Championship at Kapalua to begin 2018, he said it felt like “someone’s jabbing a knife in my wrist or hand.”
Koepka received news last week that he has a partially torn tendon that will likely sideline him for approximately eight to 12 weeks. He hopes to return in time for the Masters Tournament in April. If he cannot return in time for the season’s first major, he certainly would like to be completely free of pain in time for his U.S. Open title defense in June at Shinnecock Hills.
Els Honored by GWAA
Two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els will receive the Golf Writers Association of America’s ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for his longtime cooperation with the media. The award is annually voted upon by the GWAA membership and past winners include major champions Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Juli Inkster, Jim Furyk and Nick Price, who has been nominated to join USGA Executive Committee.
He will receive the award at the 46th ISPS Handa GWAA Annual Awards Dinner presented by The PGA of America and USGA on April 4 in Augusta, Ga.
“Jim Murray was a brilliant, funny writer and obviously a legend in his field, so it’s nice that this award is named after him and, from my point of view, it makes the award more special,” said Els, the 1994 and 1997 U.S. Open champion.
“I’ve always enjoyed a good relationship with the golf media. In fact, many of the writers, pundits and commentators that travel the world with us have become good friends of mine. They have a pretty tough job and I have a lot of respect for what they do. That’s why I’ve always tried to be honest and ‘give it straight’ in press conferences, which I think they’ve appreciated over the years.”
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.