Stroke Play Champ Knocked Out in First Round of Match Play

ST. CLAIR — The curse of being the stroke play champion continued Wednesday at the 94th Michigan Women’s Amateur as Sarah Hoffman (Saline/Grand Valley State) knocked out medalist Liz Nagel (DeWitt/Michigan State) 1-up in the first round of match play. Since going to 36-hole stroke play, the medalist has never been the tournament champion.
“That’s why I came in second in stroke play on purpose for the second year in a row,” quipped 2009 defending champion Britney Hamilton (Lake Orion/Western Michigan University). Hamilton defeated Leah Grawburg (Mount Pleasant/Western Michigan University)7&6.
“We’re teammates so it was tough because I want to see her do well but I also want to win,” said Hamilton. “But it was a fun match and she played well.”
Hoffman clinched her match on the 18th hole in a match where neither player was ever more than 1-up.
“We both sprayed our drives on 18,” said Hoffman. “I could hit a right-handed shot out of the trees and she had to hit a left-handed shot. I hit the green on my second shot and she didn’t so that was the difference.”
Both Christine Meier (Rochester Hills/Michigan State) and Alainna Stefan (Dearborn/U of D Mercy) needed 19 holes to seal spots in the second round of match play. Meier topped Lindsey McPherson (Flushing/Michigan State) and Stefan defeated Darci Stocker (Flint).
“On the 19th hole, we both hit our tee shots into the trees,” said Meier. “I landed my next shot on the green but I left myself a 10-foot downhill putt so I wasn’t sure I could make it. But I did and that was the difference.”
Stefan landed her ball closer to the pin on 18 than Stocker, but didn’t sink the putt to force the match to extra holes. On 19, Stefan hit a good drive while Stocker struggled.
“I felt bad because that wasn’t the way I wanted it to end,” said Stefan. “She played really well all day and it was a close match and she just really struggled on that last hole.”
Meier’s sister Amy (Rochester Hills/Ohio State University) also advanced to match play defeating Bree Baumgartner (Perry/The Citadel) 5&4.
Both of the Pietila sisters, Emmie and Hannah (Brighton/Brighton HS), lost in the first round of match play. Hannah lost to Minjoo Lee (Clarkston/Bucknell University) 4&2 and Emmie lost to Alexandra Lipa (Birmingham/Yale University).
“I was hitting my driver all day and although my second shots weren’t great, my putting was good too,” said Lee. “I birdied the 15th to go 3-up so when I was teeing off on 16 I told myself I just had to tie her so not to try anything crazy.”
Lee and Pietila both but their tee shots into the rough on 16 but Lee’s second shot landed two feet away from the pin while Pietila’s ran across the green leaving her with a long putt.
Match play continues on Thursday; brackets are posted on the GAM web site at and there will be live scoring for all rounds of match play.