In an episode of ‘deja vu’, Sue Wooster’s run at the US Senior Women’s Amateur final has fallen short for the second consecutive year.
It was a bitter-sweet moment for Wooster, who ultimately couldn’t turn the tables on her 2018 co-finalist, Lara Tennant, in their clash at Cedar Rapids Country Club.
Tennant backed up her triumph in remarkably similar fashion, prevailing on the 16th hole with the exact same 3&2 margin.
“Sometimes you just say what can you do?” said a defeated Wooster.
“It’s tough, but you always expect your opponent – you’ve got to expect that stuff to happen.
“I had a tougher road this year than last year to the finals.
“(After last year’s final loss), I don’t know if I got over losing it. I mean, it was emotional. It took probably six months.”
Wooster jumped out of the blocks early winning the second hole after a poor drive from Tennant, but ultimately it was the only time Wooster would lead the re-match.
Tennant went on to win the fourth and eighth holes with par, as Wooster found the water with her tee shot for a double bogey on eight.
The reigning Australian Senior Women’s champ then missed three consecutive fairways, and Tennant captured both the 10th and 11th holes with pars to Wooster’s bogeys to take firm control.
Wooster, who won three matches on the 18th hole, including her quarterfinal and semi-final wins on Wednesday, cut into Tennant’s 3-up lead on the par-4 13th when she made a gritty up-and-down and to the reigning champs three-putt.
With both players on the plateau green of the par-4 14th in two, Tennant hit a “critical shot” after her ball hit the flagstick from 45 feet away, stopping a few inches from the hole.
Both players made two-putt pars on the par-5 15th, and when Wooster missed another fairway to the right on No. 16, she needed to aim away from the flagstick on her approach.
Tennant made a comfortable par after a crisp iron shot, and when Wooster’s 8-foot try for an up-and-down missed, the match was over.
“You know what? Sue is a tough competitor and a fabulous golfer,” said Tennant, who played at the University of Arizona.
“Last year I honestly apologized to Sue for beating her because at this point in the game, when you’ve played 10 rounds in eight days you’re both exhausted, you both worked hard, you both played well.”
The Victorian acknowledged that missing three fairways from poor tee shots proved costly in her loss.
“You try and be as calm and focused and have as much clarity as possible, but you are under a lot of pressure,” said Wooster, who finished 40th in last year’s inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
“Sometimes your body just doesn’t do what your mind wants it to, and vice versa. I was surprised. I had a pretty good mindset when I hit those shots.”
“When your swing is a little bit off, you just have to learn to play by your gut,”
“My putting kept me in it. I had only one or two three-putts the whole week. And having said that, I didn’t really hole anything, either. Didn’t hole any 10-15-footers, so that was disappointing.”
Even in defeat, Wooster earns a return ticket to the Senior Women’s Amateur for the next three years, plus the 2020 Senior Women’s Open championship.