Aya Johnson of Muskegon defeated Katelyn Chipman of Canton 3-2 in match play to win the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship Friday at Saginaw Country Club.
Johnson, 21, who last week won a Michigan sectional qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in San Diego in August, lost three consecutive holes with bogeys early in the round and Chipman had a 2-up lead as they walked to the No. 6 tee.
“I was talking to my caddie (Jacqueline Setas) and I told her we are not losing today, not today, not here,” said Johnson, who is entering her senior year at Wisconsin. “I had to fight. I hit some bad shots early, but I started swinging within myself and started hitting more fairways and greens.”
Johnson made a two-putt par on No. 9 when Chipman’s approach shot hit a tree branch and the match went to the back nine all square. Johnson took a 1-up lead at No. 11 with a par save while Chipman, who had also missed the green, failed to save par.
Finally it was Chipman’s driver that brought the match to a conclusion. She hit a tee shot through trees into an adjacent fairway and lost No. 15 to another par by Johnson, and then at 16 hit her first tee shot out-of-bounds and eventually conceded the hole.
Johnson, sticking to a game plan of making pars on the tight tree-lined course, turned back Anika Dy of Traverse City in a morning semifinal match, while Chipman had to go 19 holes in a tense match with Texas State golfer Sarah White of Kentwood.
The 2012 state Miss Golf, Johnson said the win was a thrill especially on the heels of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.
Chipman, who will be a sophomore at Grand Valley in the fall, said her 19-hole morning match with White was tough, but she didn’t think fatigue was a factor in the afternoon.
“I was ready to go,” she said. “I’m very proud of myself for the whole week. I played well and hit shots where I would give myself a pat on the back. I have never made the Sweet 16, and then to go to the quarters, then semis and make the finals was a little surprising, but I’m honored to have made it all the way to the end.”