By: WADE MERRY, SDGA Executive Director
September 15, 2016
ERIE, Pa. – Shannon Johnson’s bid for a national championship fell short Thursday, the Sioux Falls native losing in the finals of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at The Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa.
The 33-year-old Johnson, an O’Gorman High School and 2006 Indiana University grad who earned the top seed through the 36-hole qualifying portion of the championship, lost 2 and 1 in the 18-hole finale to 2013 winner Julia Potter of Indianapolis. The second-seeded Potter, 28, was in the title match for the third time in four years. Johnson, who won the individual title in record-fashion at the 2015 USGA Women’s Team Championship in leading Massachusetts to a fourth-place finish, was competing in her ninth USGA individual championship. This year was the seventh time she had reached the match-play portion of a USGA championship.
“She played great and got up and down from a lot of places,” said Johnson, who won 13 South Dakota Golf Association championships and now lives in Norton, Mass., where she is a sales representative for Ping.
Johnson, who had won four of her first five previous matches handily, found herself 4 down after six holes against Potter on Thursday.
(Photo credit: USGA/Jared Wickerham)
“I started out a little tentative and my putter was not on at all,” said Johnson, who lost three of the first six holes with a bogey before winning the 361-yard ninth with a birdie to narrow the deficit to 3 down. “I like the back nine so I thought I would get a few back after the turn.”
Which she did, starting on the 12th hole.
After losing No. 11 with a bogey on the par-3 152-yard hole, Johnson won the next four holes – all with pars – to draw even. But Potter halted the run with a birdie on the 310-yard 16th to take a 1-up lead. The match ended a hole later when Johnson’s putt for par to extend the match lipped out.
“I was really disappointed with how I putted,” said Johnson, the only female in South Dakota history who has won the SDGA Amateur, Match Play, Two-Woman and Junior championships. “I really only made one putt, on 12, for par.”
Despite the defeat, Johnson receives a three-year exemption into the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship and is also now fully exempt into the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, which will be conducted Aug. 7-13 at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif.
“I can take a lot of positives away from this week with how I struck the ball and hopefully in the years to come I can make it back to the finals and have another shot at it,” Johnson said.
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