UM's Monet Chun advances to final match of U.S. Women's Amateur

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Monet Chun took a gap year before enrolling at the University of Michigan. She wanted to figure things out, in life and on the golf course.

It's safe to say, she's done just that.

Chun, a junior-to-be at UM, has advanced to Sunday's 36-hole championship match of the U.S. Women's Amateur, beating Ireland's Annabel Wilson, 2 and 1, in Saturday afternoon's semifinal match at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.

Michigan golfer Monet Chun plays a shot during Saturday's semifinal match in the U.S. Women's Amateur.

In the final, Chun, 21, of Richmond Hills, Ontario, will face Saki Baba, 17, of Japan. Baba won, 7 and 6, against Bailey Shoemaker, 17, of Dade City, Florida.

"Keeping what I've been doing, trying not to make as many mistakes as possible," Chun said after Saturday's match, looking ahead to Sunday's. "Make as many putts as possible."

Chun made some big putts Saturday.

But it was one iron shot in particular that catapulted her to the victory.

Chun had gone back to 2-up at the par-5 14th hole, when Wilson made bogey. But Chun then hit her tee shot into the left fairway bunker on the par-4 13th hole, while Wilson found the fairway. With the ball above Chun's feet, it looked like an opening for Wilson.

But she striped an iron to about 15 feet from the flag for a birdie. While Wilson matched after hitting her approach to about 5 feet, it kept Chun from opening the door.

"Honestly, just picked a spot, tried to hit it there as best as possible, and it kind of worked out," she said. "I'm happy about it."

Wilson hadn't trailed all week in her matches, but found herself 1 down after the first hole Saturday when Chun made birdie at the par 5.

Wilson got it back at the second, but it was a grind from there, as Chun took the lead again on No. 5 and never lost it. Chun hit it stiff at the par-3 ninth to go 2 up. Wilson trimmed the lead to one hole on the next, but Chun got that back three holes later.

As she's done all week, Chun limited the mistakes, particularly off the tee.

The one big mistake off the tee came at the par-3 15th, where she hit first and found the devastating pot bunker left of the green. Wilson needed just par to win, but she also tugged her shot into the bunker, both made bogey, and Chun remained 2 up.

On the par-3 17th, Wilson hit it close, but missed the 6-footer, and Chun was victorious.

"Keeping it steady was really important out there," Chun said.

Sunday's championship match will air on Golf Channel, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Chun, the 2021 Big Ten freshman of the year whose mother Elana Kim is on the bag this week, is looking to add to her amazing run of golf. After helping lead the Wolverines to the NCAA Championships this spring, she won the Canadian Amateur last month.

She also is looking to give Michigan universities control of both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women's Amateur championships at the same time. Last summer, then-Michigan State golfer James Piot, of Canton, won the U.S. Amateur. His reign will come to a conclusion next week when the 2022 U.S. Amateur is played. He has turned pro.

Also, last month, Western Michigan head women's golf coach Kim Moore won the United States Golf Association's inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984