Making a 25-foot putt for birdie on the second playoff hole, Kate Smith of Detroit Country Club won the 2019 Minnesota Women’s State Open Championship title at Southview Country Club Wednesday over Jasi Archarya of Interlachen Country Club.
A University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior, Smith followed a first round 75 with a final round 72 to finish the tournament at 5 over 147 but didn’t think she was in the running to win.
“Both days, honestly, I was not thinking I was in contention at all, so this one kind of fell in my lap,” she said. She shot 33 on the back nine both days but struggled with a 42 and 39 on the front nine each day.
Smith started her second round with bogeys on the first and third holes but followed that with a birdie on the fourth. She also bogeyed holes 6 and 9 but was focused making the turn.
“Definitely starting off so poorly, I wanted to, you know, post better scores each day,” she said. Her father and caddy for the day Kris Smith encouraged her to keep going. “He kept saying, ‘hey, make more birdies, we might be in this,’” said Smith.
PGA Professional and proud father Kris Smith got emotional as his daughter held up her trophy.
“She kind of backed in, because she played well, but everyone else kind of got backed up,” said Kris Smith. “So, to have a chance at a playoff, you just don’t get your hopes up, you just watch her play.”
And play she did. The playoff started on Hole 1, which both Acharya and Smith parred.
“I just wanted to give myself birdie opportunities on every hole,” Smith said. “I putted pretty well this week, so I knew one would fall eventually if we kept playing.”
On the second hole, Smith’s ball landed on the green, 25 feet short of the hole. Acharya’s iron off the tee put her about 4 feet off the green, more than 50 feet from the hole. Acharya tried to make her birdie, but the shot ran 6 feet beyond the pin. Smith made the 25-foot putt look easy, no cheer or fist pump following its drop.
“I definitely like the back nine better than the front nine,” said Smith. “I feel like at times I can play harder holes better than the easier ones, so I had some confidence in my game going up against the field coming down the stretch.”
“This was pretty special,” she said, reflecting on the week. “My dad typically doesn’t get to caddy. We didn’t know how it would work this week, and it worked pretty well,” Smith said, laughing and looking toward her dad.
Professional Andriel Aimua of Oak Marsh Golf Club finished in a tie for third with Isabella McCauley of Southview Country Club and Alexandra Schilling of Legends Club at 6 over 148. First round leader Lexi Geolat of the Jewell Golf Club finished in a tie for ninth at 10 over par 152. View the full leaderboard here: https://mnpga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mnpga19/event/mnpga1925/contest/1/leaderboard.htm