Meghan Bolger, 29, of Haddonfield, N.J., won her second consecutive U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship with a 1-up victory over Kerry Postillion, 44, of Burr Ridge, Ill., Thursday at the 6,208-yard, par-73 Desert Forest Golf Club.
Bolger becomes the first repeat champion since Ellen Port in 1995 and 1996 and just the third to repeat in the 21-year history of the championship. Sarah LeBrun Ingram was the first to win back-to-back titles, in 1993-94.
“It's an absolute wonderful feeling,” said Bolger of winning a second consecutive championship. “After last year, you don't know what to say, and then to go back‑to‑back and defend … there is a little pressure, and I tried not to put that on myself. I'm just absolutely ecstatic right now.”
In the championship final against Postillion, a Desert Forest member, Bolger took an early lead when Postillion couldn’t get up and down from over the green on the second hole. But Postillion squared the match two holes later when Bolger hit her approach shot into a bunker and hit her sand shot across the green and couldn’t get up and down from 30 feet.
On the par-5 fifth hole, Postillion took a 1-up lead when Bolger missed a 10-footer for par and conceded Postillion’s birdie putt. It was the first time Bolger had trailed in her six matches at the championship.
Postillion built the lead to 2 up on No. 6 when Bolger couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker and Postillion made her 3-footer for par.
“She was getting up and down from many places when she needed to,” said Bolger of Postillion. “I knew I needed to make a couple of putts. I left a few putts out there and my short game wasn't really there. I hung in there for the most part.”
But Bolger got one back at the seventh hole with a 5-foot birdie putt and squared the match on No. 8 when Postillion missed a 6-foot par putt.
Bolger had a chance to retake the lead on the ninth but missed a 6-foot birdie putt. She made up for that a hole later, however, when she calmly made a 25-footer for birdie from above the hole.
She would hold that 1-up lead until the par-3 12th when she hit her tee shot into the desert. With Postillion in a greenside bunker, Bolger needed two shots to get out of the desert and eventually conceded the hole after Postillion hit a terrific shot from the bunker to 2 feet.
It looked like Bolger might again reclaim the lead on No. 14 when Postillion hit her approach shot under a tree short and left of the green. But Postillion made a brilliant chip to 4 feet, which she made for par. Bolger two-putted from 12 feet and the match remained all square.
“That was unbelievable,” said Postillion. “I’m sure one in a thousand. I struggled all day with my swing. Definitely, my short game helped me stay in it.”
Bolger did take a temporary lead at the 15th when Postillion hit her tee shot into the rough and hit her approach shot into the rough short of the green. When Postillion missed her 15-footer for par, Bolger earned a conceded two-putt from 12 feet.
But the lead would be temporary. Bolger’s tee shot on the next hole bounced left into the desert and she had to hit her second shot slightly backwards onto the fairway. When Bolger’s par putt from 8 feet slid by the hole, the two players again stood all square.
Again, it looked like Bolger had the advantage after the tee shots at the par-3, 155-yard 17th hole, when Postillion hit her shot in the fringe left of the green and Bolger’s stopped 5 feet from the flagstick. But Postillion hit a splendid chip to within to 2 feet that was conceded, and Bolger hit her first putt a little too hard. The putt lipped out and came to rest 4 feet away, which she made to remain all square.
“I knew exactly that shot, and I had been hitting those shots all week, hitting the high‑cut shots into the greens,” said Bolger of her tee shot on No. 17. “The green firmed up today. I hit the putt where I wanted to, that's why it was firm. That's why I had pressure coming back, but that's being confident in the shots and making the putt coming back.”
On No. 18, Postillion found a little trouble off the tee when her drive entered the left rough and she hit her 210-yard approach shot into a greenside bunker. Her sand shot sailed over the green and her fourth shot didn’t make it back up to the green.
“I didn’t catch enough sand,” said Postillion. “It was an uphill slope. The bunkers here don’t have a lot of sand and if you catch it a little thin, there it goes.”
Bolger, with a 30-footer for birdie, stroked her putt to within a foot. Postillion then conceded the hole, and the match, to Bolger.
It was the third runner-up finish for Postillion, who also lost in the finals in 1996 and 2005. Despite the loss, Postillion took away positive memories of the week, particularly playing in front of her fellow club members at Desert Forest, many of whom came out to watch Thursday’s final match.
“It was great support,” said Postillion. “Everybody was so nice. It was really fun having them around and have people pulling for you. That was really special. It’s too bad I just couldn’t get quite through that last hole.”
For Bolger, she struggled when asked what it meant to join the list of repeat Women’s Mid-Amateur champions that includes Port and Ingram.
“I can't describe it,” she said. “I was lost for words last year, and now‑‑ it's a feeling that I'm very, very fortunate to have and to be part of this group.”
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.