MacKenzie Neal Wins Women's Amateur Stroke Play Title at Home Course
RICHMOND, KY (August 12, 2021) – MacKenzie Neal has grown up playing Boone’s Trace National Golf Club, but on Thursday she got a signature win on her home stomping grounds by claiming victory in the Kentucky Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
The Richmond native and Morehead State Eagle shot the low round of the tournament on Thursday with 70 (-2), helping her end with a final score of 143 (-3) and a two-stroke margin of victory over Rikke Svejgaard.
Both players began the final round tied for the lead, but Neal was able to nudge ahead after the 6th hole and she never relinquished the top spot from that point on. Svejgaard was able to tie her midway through the back nine, but Neal quickly got back in front and went to the par-three 17th one stroke up. A phenomenal tee shot that ended a foot shy of the hole for an ace set up a tap-in birdie, allowing Neal to go up two strokes before closing things out on the 18th with many of her family and friends looking on.
“It was really special to win in front of everyone,” Neal described. “We have club tournaments out here all the time that they get to see, but they seldom get to see me play in amateur competitions or college events which are so important to me. To have them see me play and succeed in a true competitive golf tournament like this means a lot to me.”
Svejgaard and Ryan Bender, both members of the Kentucky Wildcats, finished in second and third place, respectively. Six shots separated Bender from fourth place, demonstrating the high level at which those three players were at this week.
Allison Gosney won the Open Division’s net prize by five strokes after wrapping up the tournament at 131 (-13). Bender finished runner-up to her in that competition.
On the Senior Division side, Jessica Corneliius improved eleven shots in round two to vault up the leaderboard and into the winner’s circle of the gross competition. Her 77 (+5) in the final round helped her win by two strokes with Cynthia Powell and Cindy Summers finishing in a tie for second place.
Karen Antis and Linda Nekirk finished in a tie for first place on the net side and share the top prize in that competition. Both players had net scores of 152 (+8), amounting to a seven-shot cushion over four players who tied for third place.
NOTES & STATS
- Neal’s win comes one year after finishing runner-up in this tournament in 2020 at Griffin Gate Golf Club.
- The opening par-five 1st played as the easiest hole of the day for the Open Division. It was the only hole with an under-par average at -0.08.
- Canceling out the easiness of the starting hole, the par-four 2nd was the hardest hole of the day with a stroke-to-par average of +0.83.
- Factoring in both round one and round two scores, the 1st was the easiest hole of the tournament while the par-five 13th had the hardest average score.
- For the second consecutive day, the back nine played harder than the front nine did for the Open Division, but not by nearly as much. After the back nine played 2.39 strokes harder than the front on Wednesday, that number was reduced to a 0.83 shot difference on Thursday.
- Round two’s scoring average was 79.81, which amounts to being 0.80 strokes harder than the course average from the opening round.
The Kentucky Golf Association extends its thanks to Cam Rutherford, the Director of Golf at Boone’s Trace National Golf Club and the rest of his team for their support in hosting the second edition of this championship. The KGA also greatly appreciates the participation of each player who competed in this week’s event.
Next up on the KGA’s schedule is the Kentucky Senior Amateur, which will be held at University of Louisville Golf Club on August 16-17. First round tee times for that tournament are now available and can be found by clicking here.