ROCHESTER – Last year’s runner-up Mikaela Schulz of West Bloomfield, Anika and Anci Dy, the golf sisters from Traverse City, and recent Northville High School graduate Megha Vallabhaneni make up the four semifinalists for the 106th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland.
Each of them won two matches Thursday at Great Oaks Country Club, and Schulz will meet Anci Dy in one semifinal Friday morning, and Anika Dy will take on Vallabhaneni in the other. The two winners will meet in the afternoon for the championship.
Schulz, a University of Michigan golfer and the runner-up to Kimberly Dinh of Midland a year ago, beat Olivia Stoll of Haslett 2 and 1 in the round of 16, and then outlasted stroke play medalist Caroline Ellis in 20 holes in the quarterfinals.
Schulz said she led early and played conservatively in holding off Stoll in the morning but realized she would need to be more aggressive in her match with Ellis.
“I was leaving some putts short and the greens are fast and they’re rolling really well,” she said. “I’ve never played with Caroline before, but she seemed like she played well and we didn’t really make many mistakes. It was a very solid match. I feel like it could have gone either way and I’m proud of how I stuck in out there at the end.”
Anci Dy, a University of Indianapolis golfer, beat Grand Blanc’s Kate Brody 2 and 1 in the morning and then topped Western Michigan University golfer Alissa Fish of Clark Lake 4 and 2 in the quarterfinals. She will be playing in the semifinals for the first time.
“Kate’s a great player and so is Alissa, and I knew if I got through the morning it would be more grinding it out in the afternoon,” Dy said. “I played some good golf all the way through. I was consistent. There are always thing to brush up on here and there but I really like how the course was today and having a great caddie (Danielle Staskowski) also helps.”
Anika Dy, the older sister and a University of Michigan golfer, turned back Sophie Stevens of Highland 2-up in the morning round, and then topped Maya Hunter of St. Joseph, a Northern Michigan University golfer, 4 and 3 in the quarterfinals. She is going to the semifinals for the second time.
She said her morning match with Stevens was a grind, and she was playing a little shaky starting the second match.
“Then I got a few good holes in there that kept the momentum going my way, and (caddie Shannon Kennedy, a Michigan State golfer) was a big help on the bag in just keeping my mental game there and playing one shot at a time,” she said. “Maya is a fun girl to play and she kept me on my toes. I always felt like we were neck and neck and both of us struggled some. It could have gone either way, but I was able to win a few more holes down the stretch.”
Vallabhaneni, 17 and headed to Western Michigan University in the fall, turned back Oakland University golfer Nateda Her of Lansing 5 and 4 in the round of 16, and then topped Lilia Henkel of Grand Rapids, a University of Delaware golfer, 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals.
She said she put in a lot of effort to bulk up over the winter to hit the ball farther and has been practicing a lot.
“This means to me I can go out there and compete against some of the best players in the state,” she said. “Tomorrow I’m going to take it one shot at a time and try to have as much confidence as I can because match play can always go either way.”
She praised her father (Krishna) for serving as her caddie.
“Oh, it’s been so fun, I love having him on the bag,” she said. “He always like keeps me in a good mood and he supports me if I hit a bad shot. He tells me to brush it off. I enjoy that and I love spending time with him.”
The Dy sisters acknowledged the possibility of meeting in the finals. They played in a quarterfinal match in the Women’s Amateur at Saginaw Country Club in 2017 with Anika winning.
“It gives me flashbacks to Saginaw,” Anika said. “If I were able to play her in a match that would be super fun. Awesome.”
Anci said meeting in the championship match would be a really cool thing.
“We have to get there first but we would both enjoy it especially because we’ve just been neck and neck pretty much all season and this spring practicing together,” she said. “We like playing together.”