Written By: Greg Johnson
SPRING LAKE – Shannon Kennedy of Beverly Hills is sticking with her game plan for the 107th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland.
It’s worked so far and she has a crystal trophy to prove it. The Michigan State University golfer shot an even-par round of 72 Tuesday at Spring Lake Country Club and finished with a two-day 3-under 141 total to win the stroke play portion of the state championship.
With the win she also earned the No. 1 seed for match play that starts Wednesday with the round of 32.
“I stuck with my same game plan as yesterday, you know, put the driver away where I need to, then there are some holes out here where you kind of have to rip driver and expect you might hit a tree or two just because it’s so tight,” she said. “But I kept it out of the trees. I just felt like I swung hard and played my game.”
Kennedy will take on Julie Massa of Pentwater in the first match at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Massa, who shot 77 for 158, earned the last spot in the match play bracket as part of a three-golfer playoff at 158 for the final two spots in the field. Massa was last summer’s Michigan Senior Women’s Amateur Champion, a seven-time GAM Senior Player of the Year and is the oldest player in the field at 59.
Olivia Stoll of Haslett, a Grand Valley State University golfer, finished second in stroke play with a 70 for 142 and will be the second seed.
Natalie Samdal of Kalamazoo, a Western Michigan University golfer, shot 71 for 145 and third, followed by Rachael Krieger of Commerce Township, another Grand Valley golfer, who shot 75 for 147 and Savannah Haque of Rochester Hills, an Oakland University golfer who shot 74 for 149.
Four golfers tied at 150 including reigning GAM Women’s Champion Bridget Boczar of Canton and Oakland University, who shot 77, Kamryn Shannon of Jackson and Ferris State University, who shot 77, Alissa Fish of Clarklake and Western Michigan University, who shot 75, and her WMU teammate Megha Vallabhaneni of Northville, who shot 76.
Stoll said she had dinner with Kennedy, who plays for Stoll’s mother Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, the women’s golf coach at MSU, on Tuesday night and they talked about staying close to each other in score.
“So, we get seeds where we don’t have to play each other until the end,” she said. “In the end we succeeded. That’s good. I mean it would have been great to be medalist, but then I made a bogey on the last hole (No. 9, her last hole), which hurts a little bit. Still, it was a good round. I played well and I’m excited for what’s next.”
Kennedy had two birdies at Nos. 1 and 10 to start each nine and two bogeys in her round.
“I played pretty solid and hit the ball pretty well,” she said. “I definitely did not putt my best, at least not for as good as I was hitting it. I definitely should have made a few more birdies. Overall though, solid play and it got a little windy towards the end so I’m happy with my score.”
She said earning the top seed meant a lot especially after missing the cut into match play a year ago in the championship.
“I came in with the mentality that I wanted to win stroke play and win match play,” she said. “I feel like my game is in a good spot and I’m capable of doing that if I just keep doing what I’m doing.”
Stoll, who had three birdies and just the single final bogey, said she loves match play.
“I don’t think about the score, it’s me against the golf course and one other person is out there,” she said. “I just go out there and play golf like I know how to play.”