Dearborn’s Elayna Bowser and Flushing’s Kerrigan Parks Meet for Michigan Women?s Amateur Championship at Western G&CC

In photos: Elayna Bowser, left, and Kerrigan Parks, right

  REDFORD – Elayna Bowser
of Dearborn and Kerrigan Parks of Flushing will face off Friday at 8 a.m. in
the final match of the 102nd Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship presented by
Carl’s Golfland at Western Golf & Country Club.

  Bowser, a Loyola
University of Chicago golfer, beat defending champion Aya Johnson of Muskegon
and the University of Wisconsin 2 and 1 in the semifinals Thursday to earn her
final spot.

  Parks, a Marshall
University golfer, beat No. 1 seed Sarah Shipley of Hastings and the University
of Kentucky 3 and 2 in the other semifinal.

  “I’m really looking
forward to it,” said Bowser, who is 21 and headed for her senior year at
Loyola. “We played each other last year in match play and just had a great
match. I remember I birdied 17, and she birdied 18 and I shot 68 and she shot
67 to beat me 1-up. I appreciate great golf and it was great golf. Hopefully we
have another great match.”

  Parks, 19 and
leaving Saturday for her sophomore year at Marshall, felt the same way about
the final matchup.

  “I’m excited to play
Elayna,” she said. “We’ve become good friends. It should be fun.”

  Both golfers closed out their morning round of
eight matches with strong play. Bowser beat Priscilla Harding of South Lyon and
Michigan State 6 and 4, and Parks beat Notre Dame Prep standout Danielle
Staskowski of Clarkston 4 and 3.

  Both golfers also
took leads early in their semifinal matches and stayed in front.

  Bowser won holes 3
and 4 to take a lead she would not relinquish against Johnson.

  “I felt good about
my game, there was no sweating over the putter and I just played steady golf,
middle of the fairway, middle of the green after I got the lead,” she said. “I
knew she was a really good player obviously, but I think I’m a good player as
well, so I just trusted my game and it worked.”

  Parks made a 12-foot
birdie putt on the first hole and never trailed against Shipley, who had earned
the top seed as medalist in stroke play qualifying. She also rolled in a
25-footer for birdie at No. 15 to go 3-up with three holes remaining.

  “I ended up being
2-under through 16 holes in the match, so really happy with that,” she said. “My
putting helped me. I finally made a couple of birdies this week. Sarah made a
few putts, too. It was a good match. I like being in the lead, having control
and trying to make more birdies.”

  Bowser is a two-time
All-Missouri Valley Conference golfer for Loyola, and last week played in the
U.S. Women’s Amateur in Tennessee. She said winning the state championship
would set her up for her college season.

  “It would be a huge
boost in confidence and help me have a great senior year,” she said. “It would
mean a lot.”

  Parks, the 2017 GAM
Women’s Champion and a two-time Michigan Junior Amateur winner, said the state
title would propel her career forward.

  “It would give me
confidence for my college season, and show the work I’ve put in on the game is
paying off,” she said.

-Greg Johnson, [email protected]