Sports

Former Univ. of Oregon coach repeats as U.S. Senior Women's Amateur champion

Lara Tennant outlasts runner-up Sue Wooster, 3 and 2, at Cedar Rapids Country Club

Lara Tennant watches her ball drop into the cup during the Semifinals of the 58th USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at the Cedar Rapids Country Club on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (David Harmantas/Freelance)
Lara Tennant watches her ball drop into the cup during the Semifinals of the 58th USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at the Cedar Rapids Country Club on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (David Harmantas/Freelance)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Golfer Lara Tennant arrived in Cedar Rapids for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship hoping to prove her 2018 title was no fluke.

To her, that just meant shooting a 2-under par 70 in the first round of stroke play. Five days and seven rounds of golf later, the Portland, Ore. resident became the ninth different golfer in the 58-year history of the tournament to win the title two years in a row.

“I would have to say that I am a little bit more shocked this year,” Tennant said after defeating Australian Sue Wooster, 3 and 2, in the final Thursday at the Cedar Rapids Country Club. “I really didn’t expect to repeat, win it again, maybe even ever.”

For the first time in the event’s history, the final was a rematch from the previous year. In 2018, Tennant defeated Wooster by the same score at the Orchard Island Golf and Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

“Sue is a tough competitor and a fabulous golfer,” Tennant said. “Won so many golf tournaments. Last year, I honestly apologized to Sue for beating her because at this point in the game when you’ve played ten rounds in eight days, you’re both exhausted. You both worked hard, you both played well. I wish both of us could have won. I wish the same for this year. I really had to not be distracted and just focus on my game. You don’t get many opportunities to be in the finals of the USGA Championship. When you do get there, you have to put your best foot forward and hope for the best.”

Tennant, 52, is a mother of five children who golfed at the University of Arizona and was the women’s golf coach at the University of Oregon for 17 years. Last year, she also collected titles in the Oregon Senior Women’s Am and the Oregon Women’s Mid-Am. Tennant’s 79-year-old father, George Mack, served as her caddie for both of her U.S. Senior Women’s Am victories.

“My dad did so well,” Tennant said. “He was a great caddie and he really helped me figure out the wind and club selection, and just such a great moral support.”

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Tennant trailed by a stroke after two holes, but quickly made up ground with pars on the next nine holes. Wooster lost her lead with a bogey on No. 4, then got behind for good when she double-bogeyed No. 8.

“I think she is very focused,” Wooster said of Tennant. “She plays aggressively and can pull off shots.”

During the awards ceremony, much praise was directed towards the Cedar Rapids Country Club, its staff and the legion of volunteers. By all accounts, the first USGA event for Cedar Rapids was a smashing success.

“They pulled it off fabulously,” Tennant said. “They went all out. I could tell there was so much preparation and that every member here contributed. They did not miss a beat. It was just a wonderful, wonderful week I know for every competitor. Not just for me, but for every competitor. The feeling around here was just how welcoming and supportive they were. That’s always nice, to go into a tournament and feel that from the people who are hosting.”

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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