By KEN MacLEOD
PONCA CITY – Seconds after rolling in an 8-foot birdie putt on the 12th green on her home course Ponca City Country Club to take firm command of the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship, Sydney Hermann allowed the memories to wash over her.
“There’s a lot that’s happened for me here,” she said. “I used to come out here for kids camp. I worked here all through high school. I ran the kids camp. This place has helped raise me. A lot of things have happened for me here and this is at the top of the list.”
This being her 4 and 3 victory over former Edmond Memorial and current Arkansas State golfer Olivia Coit on a sunny Thursday morning in her hometown.
Some may have been surprised Hermann decided to attend NAIA power Dalton State 13 hours away in Dalton, Ga., where she will be a fifth-year senior this fall. Others may have questioned her decision to begin Monday’s qualifying round with a new set of Titlist irons, Ping driver and Odyssey putter that she had never hit before even in one practice round. But that’s Hermann, who makes decisions she believes are best for herself and is usually right.
“That’s pretty on brand for me,” she said. “I just unwrapped them Monday morning, but I had been fit for them so I figured why shouldn’t I?”
The championship match began with Hermann winning the first two holes as Coit struggled with a bogey-double bogey start. But Hermann then bogeyed holes 3 and 4, and Coit had a tap-in birdie on the par-5 fifth hole to go one up. Hermann evened the match with a par on the par-4 seventh and the two went to the back nine tied.
“Ever since I was young I’ve never started out very well on this course,” Hermann said. “But I figured if I can get to the back nine and not be three or four down, I have a good chance.”
Ponca City Country Club begins its back nine with three par-5s in the first four holes. Hermann, who is bombing her new Ping driver about 275, used her length to birdie all three of them. Coit missed a 12-foot par putt on the par-4 11th and suddenly found herself four through 13.
“I had done well in that stretch earlier in the tournament,” Coit said. “I’m not as long as Sydney but if I hit my third shots close like I did on 5 I can still make birdies. I didn’t hit my third shots as close today and just couldn’t get any putts to fall.”
After both players made par on 14 and 15, the match was over and Hermann could reflect on the circumstances that led to such a special moment.
This event was originally scheduled to be held at Shangri-La Resort and Hermann didn’t plan to play, as she is busy with school and preparing for post-graduate work where she would like to pursue coaching. She was shocked and delighted when it was moved to Ponca City CC, an historic course originally designed by Perry Maxwell and also worked on by Don Sechrest.
It was her second time to reach the WOGA State Amateur championship match. She lost to University of Tulsa coach Annie Young 6 and 4 at The Golf Club of Oklahoma in 2020.
“Annie was 6 under through 13 holes and I was like, you deserve it, take it,” Hermann said laughing. “I was just happy to get past Taylor Dobson in the semifinals. She was someone I had looked up to since I was a kid.”
Lots of kids will be looking up to Hermann now.
Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association
106th State Amateur Championship
Ponca City Country Club, Ponca City
July 24-27, 2023
Match Play Finals
Sydney Hermann def. Olivia Coit 4 and 3
Championship Flight Consolation:
Leeann Fairlie def. Brooklyn Benn 4 and 3
McKenna Tatum def. Gracie Doke 7 and 6
Presidents Flight Consolaltion:
Jill Johnson def. Carrie Bowers 19 holes
Emily Baber def. Laurie Campbell 4 and 3
A flight Consolation:
Cherie Rich def. Nancy Ford 3 and 2
Sarah Lewis def. Linda Sverdrup 4 and 2
B Flight Consolation:
Kaye Hansen, bye
Qualifying Round Medalist Winners
Medalist: Mollie Wallis – 73
Junior Medalist: Peyton Coburn – 81
Senior Medalist: Leeann Fairlie – 77