DAYTON, Ohio – It took 36 holes before Jillian Hollis could accept the title of Champion at the Women’s Western Golf Association’s 116th National Amateur Championship at Dayton Country Club, Dayton, Ohio. The final matched Hollis, a native of Rocky River, Ohio who attends the University of Georgia, and Mikhaela Fortuna, a 15 year old from Dasmarinas City, Cavite, The Philippines. It was hard fought and the result was up in the air through most of the match.
The morning round started at 7:30 am and the first three holes were tied at Par. Hollis won the 4th and 6th holes with birdies, and Fortuna won holes 8 and 9 to end the first nine All Square. Hollis birdied holes 10 and 11, and lost holes 13 and 16 to get back to All Square. Fortuna won the 18th hole to take a 1 Up lead into the break.
The afternoon round started at 12:10 pm. Fortuna won the 1st Hole with a birdie 3. Hollis got one back after a birdie on #2. Fortuna got one back with her own birdie on #4. Fortuna got to 3 up on the 7th hole. Hollis won the 10th and 11th hole with birdies. Fortuna won #12 with a birdie. Hollis birdied #13 and #14 to get the match back to All Square. She birdied the 15th hole and birdied the 18th hole to take the match 2 Up.
Those who were there saw an excellent golf match. Both players shot the two rounds in 137 strokes. In two day qualifying for match play held earlier this week, the Medalist had a two day total of 139. The course was set up at Par 34-37= 71, 5,998 yards with a Course Rating of 75.1 and a Slope of 136.
Hollis just finished her freshman year at the University of Georgia. She won her first collegiate tournament at Mountain View Golf Club in Tucson, Arizona where she shot 11 under in her first two rounds. She originally got involved in golf through her mother, Sharon (Minnich), who played college golf in the 1980’s. Sharon continued to play on mini tours and the European Ladies Tour but never achieved full status on the LPGA. Sharon was Jillian’s caddie today and did a great job of keeping her calm. To inspire Jillian for the final 9 holes, Sharon exchanged her right earring with Jillian. The result of this action was shooting 5 under on the final nine so Jillian could take the title
Fortuna will turn 16 on November 2. She is going to play in the Callaway Junior World’s in July. She has been traveling with 3 other golfers from The Philippines as well as her father. It was her father and grandfather who first got her involved in the sport which started at a young age. Watching her play today, and the strength of her short game, one can only wonder how good a golfer she can become as she grows up.
The WWGA will holding its 90th National Junior Championship at Blackhawk Country Club, Madison, Wisconsin, July 11-15. Our next Amateur will be held at River Forest Country Club, Elmhurst, Illinois, June 12-17, 2017.