By Ken MacLeod
Photos by Rip Stell
OKLAHOMA CITY – Yugeong Son found herself trailing for the first time in the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship, but it didn’t last long.
Megan Blonien jumped ahead with birdies on the first two holes in the championship match at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club Wednesday. The former four-time Class 5A state champion from Altus looked like she might give the 14-year-old prodigy from Norman her first serious scare of the championship.
Then Blonien made bogey or worse on the next six holes. By the time she righted the ship with a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole, Son had claimed a four-up lead with a series of steady pars.
Son went on to a 5 and 3 victory, claiming the title for the second consecutive year.
"I didn’t worry too much when she made those two birdies, because there’s nothing I can do about it." Son said. "My game plan today was to play boring golf, make a lot of pars and if a birdie putt fell in, then great. It worked out in the end."
It did indeed. Son made one birdie and two bogeys in the round, and even won the hole on her first bogey when Blonien double-bogeyed the par-5 fifth hole after having a wedge in from the middle of the fairway after two shots.
"I hit some really good shots today but also some really bad shots," Blonien said. "I’ve been working a lot on my swing and bringing the ball in from the right and there were a lot of pins tucked up front right."
Blonien’s appearance in the final was an emotional victory in itself. She recently announced she was transferring from Oklahoma State to Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers after three tough years in Stillwater. Her father died of a rare form of cancer in 2013 and Blonien never earned her way into the lineup for the Cowgirls after her dominant high school and junior career.
Blonien hasn’t given up on herself and still has the self-belief that all great golfers must.
"My high school coach was here today and she said that it takes some used to getting back in this position to win a golf tournament," Blonien said. "I still know I can play. I’m grateful to be going to Florida Gulf Coast University with two years of eligibility left and looking forward to this fall."
Blonien’s first par of the match came on the 10th hole. She won the 11th with her second consecutive par, and saved a halve on 12 with a miraculous third shot after her drive landed in a creek. But she bogeyed the par-5 13th after driving into trouble right, then left her tee shot on the par-3 15th short in a greenside bunker and could not get up-and-down.
That tee shot summed up Blonien’s difficulties. With a two-up lead on the par-3 third, instead of going long over the hole with a backstop behind and putting the pressure on Son to make birdies, she hit it short in a greenside bunker and could not escape the bunker with her first effort. She was also in a greenside bunker on the fourth and fifth holes and missed the green short and right on the par-3 sixth. She hit the green in regulation on the par-4 seventh but three-putted to fall three down.
Son, meanwhile, cruised to her second straight WOGA title, the first to win back-to-back since Whitney McAteer in 2010-11. The most consecutive titles won was by Oklahoma Golf Hall of Famer Pat Grant, who won four consecutive from 1939-42 and then, after no tournaments were held from 1943-45, won it again in 1946. The record for the most titles is nine by Patty McGraw Coatney. It is expected that Son will be long gone to the LPGA Tour before she gets close to that, but Grant’s record could be in jeopardy before she finishes high school. She will be a freshman this fall.
2015 WOGA State Amateur Championship
Oklahoma City Golf & CC
Yujeong Son def Megan Blonien 5 and 3
Christina Boone def Kailey Jo Campbell
Kailey Collier def LeeAnn Fairlie 1 up
Raegan Barnes def Abby Thompson 2 and 1
Kennedy Hudson def Teresa DeLarzelere 20 holes
A Flight Consolation
Jaime Branch def. Elizabeth Langford 7 and 5
Rose Cassidy def Dana Hurley 7 and 6
B Flight Consolation
Leslie Young def Elaine Davis 7 and 5
Alyssa Wilson def. Cindy Arnold 3 and 2
C Flight Consolation
Joyce Washam def Melanie Robson 4 and 3
Jayne Underwood def Emily Hunt 3 and 1
D Flight Consolation
Bobbie Langford def Patty Monroe 1 up
Jill Dobbins def Megan Moore 7 and 6
E Flight Consolation
Carolyn Mericle def Jill Brown 6 and 5
Rose Whatley def Janice Nagle 1 up
F Flight Consolation
Patti McKinnon def Susie Ellegard 2 up
Belinda Armstrong def Cheryl Duff 4 and 2
G Flight Consolation
Marilyn Buland Def Fran Derrick 1 up