CEDAR RAPIDS — A tournament that started with 132 golfers is now down to just two.
It took two rounds of stroke play and five rounds of match play only to arrive at a very familiar spot.
For the first time in the 58-year history of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, there will be a rematch for the title.
“Sort of bizarre, isn’t it?” Australian Sue Wooster said when she learned she would face defending champion Lara Tennant of Portland, Ore., in the tournament final for the second year in a row. “One-hundred-and-fourty players and it comes down to us again.”
Wooster, 57, and Tennant, 52, will play one match play round Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Cedar Rapids Country Club for the championship. The match is open to the public and is free to enter.
Last year, Tennant defeated Wooster, 3 and 2, at the Orchard Island Golf and Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla.
“I have just got to give it my all,” Wooster said. “I gave it my all today. I probably didn’t score the best on the back nine. I did play pretty well.”
For the third time in two days, Wooster outlasted her match play opponent on the 18th hole. In the Round of 32 on Tuesday, she rallied from a one-stroke deficit after 16 holes to eliminate second-seeded Ellen Port of St. Louis, 1 up.
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In Wednesday morning’s quarterfinal, Wooster trailed Ireland’s Laura Webb by three strokes after four holes, but quickly made up the deficit. With the match still tied after 17 holes, Wooster’s par on No. 18 was enough to edge Webb by a stroke. The afternoon semifinal against Caryn Wilson of Ranch Mirage, Calif., was also tied at the final hole, and again won with a Wooster par.
“The green is probably the most severe I have ever played,” Wooster said. “That probably served me well. It probably worked in my favor.”
Like so many of the participants this week, Wooster was very complimentary of the Cedar Rapids Country Club, which is hosting its first United States Golf Association event.
“It’s a fabulous layout,” Wooster said. “All the holes are different and the green structures are fantastic. The surface is pure. It is a real challenge with all the rough around the greens and it makes it really difficult. It puts pressure on you to hit the green.”
Wooster won four amateur tournaments in 2018 — the Canadian Women’s Mid-Amateur, the Canadian Women’s Amateur, the Australian Senior Women’s Amateur and the North & South Senior Women’s Amateur — but last year’s loss to Tennant still is on her mind.
“Well, not every day,” Wooster said. “A lot of them.”