All Palm Beach County final at Jones/Doherty Women's Amateur Championship

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Brooke Oberparleiter's strong driver game helped her have short approach shots into the greens during her 4 and 3 victory over Meghan Stasi during Thursday's semifinal.
Brooke Oberparleiter's strong driver game helped her have short approach shots into the greens during her 4 and 3 victory over Meghan Stasi during Thursday's semifinal.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Brooke Oberparleiter continued her strong play Thursday in the 89th Ione D. Jones/Doherty Women’s Amateur Championship, winning her semifinal match against two-time champion Meghan Stasi 4 and 3 at a breezy, mostly sunny Coral Ridge Country Club.

The victory earned the 16-year-old a spot in Friday morning’s Amateur division championship match against defending champion Alexa Pano, who won the Doherty in 2017, 2019 and 2020. (Last year’s tournament was cancelled by COVID-19.) The top-seeded Pano, 17, of Lake Worth, claimed a 2-up victory in a close match with Canice Screene of England.

In the Senior division, the 50 and older ladies who advanced played two matches Thursday. Two golfers playing in the tournament for the first time, Kim Keyer-Scott of Estero, who played 35 holes, and Susan Curtin of Westwood, Mass., who played 37 holes, meet in Friday’s championship match. Amy Kennedy of Naples and Corey Weworski of Carlsbad, Calif., play in the Senior first flight final. Ivy Steinberg of Stouffville, Ontario, won the Senior second flight 4 and 2 over Carolyn Creekmore of Ponte Vedra Beach.

Oberparleiter, who spends winters in Jupiter and the rest of the year in Blackwood, N.J., got off to a fast start against Stasi, the 2018 and 2012 champion, winning the first two holes.

Alexa Pano made this 12-footer to save her bogey on the par-3 16th hole after her tee shot rolled into the water.
Alexa Pano made this 12-footer to save her bogey on the par-3 16th hole after her tee shot rolled into the water.

“It calmed my nerves winning the first two holes,” said Oberparleiter, who won a team state championship at Jupiter High School as a freshman, then switched to online learning when COVID prevented the school from fielding a golf team. “Then I kind of just tried to focus on my own game and not really worry about what she was doing.

“I just tried to continue my momentum from (Wednesday, when she beat Elle Nachmann 3 and 2). I played really well and I just wanted to stick to my game and see what happens.”

Stasi cut her deficit to 1 down with a birdie at the par-5 fourth hole and halved the next four holes, saving par from bunkers at the fifth and sixth holes.

The long-hitting Oberparleiter won the ninth, 10th and 12th with pars to go 4 up. A bogey at 14 dropped her lead to 3 up, but she birdied 15 to close out the match. It was an advantage to hit shorter irons into the firm, fast undulating greens.

“My driver is definitely one of the strong parts of my game,” said Oberparleiter, who has never played against Pano. “Alexa is a great player, so I’m excited to see how my game holds up.”

Both Pano and Screene, who plays golf at Boston College, shot under par on the front nine. Screene won the first hole with a birdie and Pano evened the match with a birdie on the fourth hole. Pano took a 1-up lead with a birdie at the eighth.

“It was a fun day. We both made a lot of birdies on the front,” Pano said. “It’s always good when you both can play well and still win.”

Pano and Screene halved five consecutive holes before Pano won the 14th to go 2 up. When Pano’s tee shot on the par-3 16th rolled down the slope into the water, she made a great up and down for a bogey, but Screene had an equally impressive two-putt from 50 feet to win the hole with a par.

Both players had two-putt pars at the 17th. Needing to win the 18th, Screene’s approach was short of the green and her attempt to hole her chip rolled past the pin, and she missed her par putt. Pano, who was on in regulation and needed only to halve the hole, lagged her birdie putt three feet from the cup to earn her fifth consecutive appearance in the championship match.

“Aside from 16 and hole No. 11 (which both players bogeyed), I didn’t feel like I left any shots out there,” Pano said. “I made most of my makeable birdie putts and I made the majority of my par putts, so I was pretty happy with how I played.”

Curtin won 1 up in her Thursday morning match and needed 19 holes to beat top seed Terrill Samuel of Etobicoke, Ontario, in the afternoon. Keyer-Scott won her morning match 2 and 1, then birdied the 18th hole for a 2-up win over Gigi Higgins in an afternoon match that featured a number of amazing shots.

Down by a hole on the 17th, Higgins hit her approach to eight feet, then watched as Keyer-Scott rolled in a 27-foot birdie putt. Higgins made hers to extend the match, only to watch her opponent roll in a 51-footer from the swale in the middle of the 18th green.

“Both of us played great,” Keyer-Scott said. “The putt on 17, I had the exact same putt this morning. I only had to lag it to halve that hole to win, so I knew that putt. I didn’t play it out far enough this morning, so I played it out and I made it.”

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Alexa Pano makes Jones/Doherty Women's Amateur Championship final

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