U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Kim-Schaad Captures Title With 3-and-2 Win September 19, 2019 | Flagstaff, Ariz. By Ron Driscoll, USGA

Ina Kim-Schaad never trailed in her 3-and-2 victory over Talia Campbell. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

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What Happened

Ina Kim-Schaad, who returned to golf three years ago after a hiatus of more than a decade, captured the 33rd U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship with a 3-and-2 victory over fellow New York City resident Talia Campbell in the 18-hole final on Thursday on the Meadow Course at Forest Highlands Golf Club.

Kim-Schaad, 35, earns an exemption into the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, with the victory, as well as exemptions into the next two U.S. Women’s Amateurs and next 10 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs and possession of the Mildred Prunaret Trophy for one year.

“I’m sure it will sink in tonight or maybe later in the week, but it’s pretty amazing,” said Kim-Schaad, a native of Los Angeles who graduated from Northwestern University in 2005 and turns 36 years old on Sunday. “The women I got to play with this week have been amazing. The golf course was amazing. It’s just a pretty surreal experience overall.”

Kim-Schaad won the first and third holes with pars, and from that point on her lead fluctuated between one and two holes until the final hole. She sealed her victory on holes 15 and 16, first with a par-saving 6-footer on the short par-4 15th to Campbell’s bogey, followed by a winning birdie putt from 12 feet on the par-4 16th hole.

Kim-Schaad, who was the runner-up in the 2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior, was competing in her eighth USGA championship. Campbell, 25, playing in her first year of eligibility after graduating from the University of Notre Dame, won her first hole of the day with a birdie on the par-5 fifth hole, but Kim-Schaad regained her two-hole advantage with a birdie of her own on the par-4 seventh hole.

“I tend to get overly amped up, so I was just trying to calm myself down a little bit, just so that I don't get a little too crazy with my yardages,” said Kim-Schaad, who had her husband, Ian Schaad, as her caddie all week. “Other than that, I really tried to think of it as just another golf round, which I know is really hard to do, and I don’t know if I did a great job at it but that was my intent when I started the day.”

Campbell halved the lead again with a two-putt par on No. 8 as Kim-Schaad’s 5-foot par attempt spun around the hole and out. Campbell was unable to draw even, though, as a couple of birdie chances slipped by on Nos. 9 and 10, and Kim-Schaad went back to 2 up when Campbell three-putted the par-3 11th and conceded Kim-Schaad’s short birdie putt.

“I had a lot of good birdie looks but I just was not able to convert the 10-to 20-foot putts this week,” said Campbell, who was competing in her fourth USGA championship and first since the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur. “That was kind of the theme of my week, because most of the birdies I did get were more or less tap-ins or inside of 6 feet. It’s just the 10-to-20-foot range that wasn't there this week.”

Kim-Schaad missed only her second fairway of the day on the par-5 12th, and it was costly, as she couldn’t get her ball out of the woods on her first attempt, the ball ricocheting off a rock. She got on the green in four and conceded Campbell’s birdie putt after her own par try missed.

The match was decided on holes 14-16 as Kim-Schaad matched Campbell’s two-putt par by converting a testing 4-footer on the par-5 14th to keep her 1-up lead. Kim-Schaad then saved par again on No. 15 after Campbell flew the green on the short par 4 in the blustery conditions, with winds gusting to more than 30 miles an hour. Kim-Schaad birdied the 384-yard, par-4 16th, and when Campbell missed her attempt, the match was over.

The par-4 15th hole played only 295 yards, but the gusty wind wreaked havoc with the players on their approach shots and helped to decide the final outcome.

“I was 75 yards away and the pin was in the back,” said Campbell. “We were into the wind and I thought I hit a perfect wedge shot, flighted it the trajectory that I wanted, but it flew probably a yard too long, and then because of the hill, a yard turns into 15 yards.”

After watching Campbell’s shot sail over the green, Kim-Schaad struggled to commit to her own shot.

“You know it’s a little wedge, but it’s just so straight into the wind,” said Kim-Schaad. “You know there's a false front, but if you get a little aggressive you're going to be where Talia was. I just found it really hard to attack that pin and I paid for it a bit.”

For the second consecutive hole, Kim-Schaad made a solid stroke on a par-saving putt, this time from about 6 feet after sending her first putt past the hole. Campbell had nothing to work with from behind the green and made bogey, and Kim-Schaad’s lead went back to 2 up.

“I struggled a bit, especially with the wind kicking up today,” said Kim-Schaad. “It kind of got in my head, especially around the greens. I think I psyched myself out on the speeds and reads a lot. That definitely paid for that. Missed a lot of birdie opportunities and I think Talia did the same thing.”

Notable

  • Ina Kim-Schaad qualified as the No. 11 seed with stroke-play rounds of 73-72, for a total of 1-over-par 145. Talia Campbell qualified as the No. 20 seed with rounds of 74-73 for a total of 3-over 147.

  • Kim-Schaad did not need to play the 17th or 18th holes in any of her six matches. She played 89 holes in match play, while Campbell played 100 holes. The record for fewest holes for a champion was set in the inaugural playing in 1987 when Cindy Scholefield played only 81 holes at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Corey Weworski needed a record-most 108 holes in her victory at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2004.

  • Campbell’s first match of the week, a 19-hole victory over Marissa Mar in the Round of 64, was one of only seven matches to go past No. 18 for the week. The longest was a 22-hole match in which defending champion Shannon Johnson, the No. 6 seed, prevailed over No. 59 seed Noelle Maertz in 22 holes in the Round of 64. The record for most extra-hole matches was set two years at Champions Golf Club, when 13 matches required extra holes.

  • For the day, both players hit 11 of 13 fairways, and both hit 12 of 16 greens in regulation. Kim-Schaad was 2 for 4 in converting up-and-down chances, Campbell was 0 for 4.

  • Kim-Schaad and Campbell are both residents of New York City. The last time two players from the same hometown competed in a USGA final was in 1990 when Phil Mickelson defeated fellow San Diego, Calif., resident Manny Zerman in the U.S. Amateur final at Cherry Hills Country Club.

Quotable

“He knows me more than anybody. He’s able to see when I’m getting a little overexcited. If I’m a little too mellow, he’ll pump me up. If I get upset with myself, he’ll call me off. He knows when I get tempted by trying to get overly aggressive and cut corners. He’ll call me off and stop me from doing stupid stuff.” – Ina Kim-Schaad, on her husband and caddie, Ian Schaad

“I had closed that chapter of the book, and I kind of moved on. I was doing so many other things with my life, and then I met Ian, and he was the one who got me back interested in it. It happens very quickly, it really does. The first few birdies and then, you know, you’re hooked again.” – Ina Kim-Schaad, on her 11-year hiatus from the game

“Even on No. 14, she made a good 5- or 6-footer for a par. She just did not have any holes in her game today. I mean, that’s really tough to do. It’s just tough to go out here in the wind and make birdies. There were no holes that were given away.” – Talia Campbell

“I guess I expected to make the finals, and I know I’m going to win one of these days. It’s nice to have picked up the golf clubs again this summer after having them away, and hanging around in the championship long enough to figure my game out because I more or less came into the week kind of winging it, and glad that I was able to figure it out. It was a good run, all things considered.” – Talia Campbell, whose 80-hour work weeks make it difficult to play often

Social Scene

Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.

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