By Ken MacLeod
Photos by Bill Powell
Nadia Majidizadeh figured the time was perfect for her to break through in the Womenâ€™s Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur.
Entering her senior year this fall at the University of Tulsa, she plays and practices routinely at The Patriot, site of this yearâ€™s championship. She has been working intensely on her game. She had a local caddie who knows the humps and rolls of every green. And she felt like it might be her last chance for possibly a long time as she goes out into the world following college.
Problem is, Yujeong Son doesnâ€™t cooperate with opponents.
The 15-year-old prodigy from Norman amassed seven birdies in 16 holes for a 3 and 2 victory. She has won every match in this tournament for the past three years and became the first golfer to win three state amateur titles consecutively since Sheila Dills in 1994-96. The record for consecutive titles is five by Pat Grant, 1939 to 42 and again in 1946 after three years off for World War II.
Majidizadeh didnâ€™t go down without a fight. She birdied the first and third holes to take a one up lead and battled throughout. But the pressure was constant to make birdies, because every time Son made a miscue, as she did with a three-putt on the par-3 ninth and another bogey on the par-3 11th, she responded with a birdie on the next hole.
â€œShe was 4-under when it ended, so I have to keep things in perspective and not let it feel as disappointing as it does,â€ Majidizadeh said. â€œYou have to try to block out what everyone says about Yujeong, that sheâ€™s not going to make any mistakes. But still, you feel like sheâ€™s going to birdie about every hole and you start putting pressure on yourself to birdie every hole.â€
Son grabbed the lead with birdies on the par-4 fourth and fifth holes with putts of about 10 and 6 feet. She hit it close on the par-3 sixth and Majidizadeh made her first major mistake when her tee shot bounded off rocks into a hazard. She also three-putted the eighth hole to fall three down.
â€œThe birdies on four and five were big, they gave me confidence in my putting stroke,â€ said Son, who last week made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girlsâ€™ Junior Championship. â€œI really hadnâ€™t putted that well in this tournament, but played well today. The birdies on 10 and 12 were also big because I lost both holes before those.â€
Son was not only good, but enjoyed some good fortune as well. Her tee shot on the par-4 seventh hole was well right into a hazard, but bounced off a rock back into the fairway.
Son pulled her tee shot on the canyon par-4 14th hole into the trees left, leading to her third bogey of the day. But again she followed a bogey with a birdie, knocking it on the par-5 15th hole in two shots and two-putting. She then hit a wedge to about 8 feet for a birdie on the par-5 16th. Majidizadeh also birdied 15, but her 10-footer on 16 to extend the match slid just under the hole.
â€œI was even on the front and three down, then shot 1-under on the back and she was 3-under.,â€ Majidizadeh said. â€œI felt like I could have taken advantage of some opportunities or hit some shots closer, but sheâ€™s tough.â€
Son, who won the Class 6A state tournament playing for Norman High School this fall as a freshman, may or may not be done with high school golf. Her family is considering having her resume home schooling as she did prior to the past year and play more of a national amateur schedule. Itâ€™s also too soon to know whether she will ever play collegiate golf or go directly to the LPGA Tour.
If she plays in this event for three more years as she finishes her schooling, Grantâ€™s record will be in peril.
In the Presidentâ€™s Flight final, Caroline Goodin defeated Kailey Jo Campbell 4 and 3 in a battle between two Oklahoma City University standouts.
WOGA State Amateur Championship
Patriot Golf Club
Yujeong Son def Nadia Majidizadeh 3 & 2
Taylor Dobson def McCandren Mack 1 up
Caroline Goodin def Kailey Jo Campbell 4 &3
Presidents Flight Consolation
Natalie Gough def Katherine Horne 6 & 5
Jordan Leonard Def Christina Boone 2 & 1
A Flight Consolation
Shannen Stewart Def Leigh Ann Fore 3 & 2
McKenzie McCoy Def Jennie Roller 1 up
B Flight Consolation
Kennedy Hudson Def Emily Batchelder
Emily Jackson Def Dana Hurley 1 up
C Flight Consolation
Cindy Arnold Def Becky Masoner 2 up
Bobby Langford Def Marilyn Buland 5 & 3
D Flight Consolation
Diane Schmidt Def Cheryl Saxon 6 & 4
LuAnn Mizener Def Becky Yarger 5 & 3
E Flight Consolation
LaDonna Zeiders Def Diane Goldschmidt 5 & 4