Ellen Secor wins national championship at U.S. Women's Four-Ball
Ellen Secor of Portland, Ore. and her partner Katrina Prendergast defeated Yachun Chang and Lei Ye, 1-up, in the final match to with the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, held this week at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.
Secor and Prendergast, the No. 9 seed going into the championship’s match-play bracket, were 2-down with four holes to play, but combined to win the next three holes to take a 1-up lead going into the 18th hole. When both sides parred the final hole, Secor and Prendergast won the title.
Secor and Prendergast are teammates on the women’s golf team at Colorado State University, with Secor being a sophomore and Prendergast a junior.
Here is a transcript of Secor and Prendergast’s final post-match interview.
Kind of describe the emotions of what it means to be — your name is going to be in the hall of champions, you’ve got a trophy.
ELLEN SECOR: I don’t know how to describe it. So many people to thank, so many just thoughts running through my mind right now. I think just what keeps recurring is just the hard work finally paid off –
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Especially so many people backing us up and really pulling for us really helped, especially back home. They couldn’t be here, but they’re still here pulling for us no matter what.
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, the support group is just massive for us, and I think that’s what really motivates us, too. You know, we’re not just doing it for ourselves and for our dads who caddied but also for that huge group that are supporting us back at home. It does mean a lot, and yeah, just finally got that –
I’m sure your coach understands now the emotions you’re going through having won the USGA championship 16 years ago.
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, no, this will be a cool one to be like, I’m a champion, too, USGA champion. So yeah, it’ll be cool to talk about the emotions running through our veins on those last four holes and what it was like for her.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: I mean, we’ve learned so much from her in the past three years I’ve been there and two years she’s been there, and just to be under her and to look at her past and how we can build on that basically is even better.
And talk about, obviously 2-down going to the 15th tee I believe it was. They were playing well. You’re playing a couple girls that can really play. What’s your mindset? What are you thinking about as you stepped to 15?
ELLEN SECOR: You know, what was actually interesting was it felt like the crowd was kind of pulling for them, and I think that’s really what got us motivated, because we were kind of like Patrick Reed style, just kind of hushed the crowd.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: And that’s how she plays. She gets fired up, and that really helps her, and I think it actually helped me, too. I got pumped up after I made par on 15, and then we got two good shots in on 16. We had the tee, and I think those two shots really helped put pressure on them.
How close were your shots on 16?
ELLEN SECOR: I think she had 10 feet, I had about 12.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Yeah.
Who made the putt?
ELLEN SECOR: I did.
And 17 you hit it in two?
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Yeah, it was a short hole. I bombed my drive, and I had 160 to the pin and just took a 7-iron, didn’t try to be cute with it, just kind of get it on the green hopefully for a nice birdie and two-putt.
What was it playing today, 17?
ELLEN SECOR: Oh, it had to be playing like 450.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Yeah, all downwind.
ELLEN SECOR: Maybe 450 to 470. When she gets a hold of it, she can hit it 300, which is nuts.
That is nuts.
ELLEN SECOR: Like crazy.
And obviously early in the match, there was some ebb and flow. You made a great birdie putt on I think it was 4, then you kind of made a little mess of 5, then you stuck the shot on 8. Just talk about the first nine, it was just like –
ELLEN SECOR: The first nine was a little shaky.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: I think we only had one hole that was — that we halved. We only had one hole on the front nine, right, or two?
ELLEN SECOR: Maybe, probably two. That front nine was like a roller coaster, yeah. They won two holes in a row to get to 1-up, I was like, okay, this is a match, because that was the first time we were ever down in this whole tournament.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Yeah, we’ve never been down.
ELLEN SECOR: And I knew that was going to happen today, and that, I think, didn’t hurt me mentally whatsoever, but it kind of gave me motivation to be like, okay, this is the legitimate match that we’re going to have to fight for to get that trophy, which is what you want.
You guys had to beat a USGA champ this morning.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Oh, I know, yeah. They were good, too.
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: I think the best part is we ham-and-egged it so well today, so well.
ELLEN SECOR: This week.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Yeah, I guess this week, too, but today especially it really helped.
You have regionals obviously coming up. What kind of confidence do you gain from this? I know it’s a different dynamic. Now you’re going to be playing on your own. How much confidence do you take going forward after a week like this?
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: I think just keep the momentum going. I mean, we’ve got two more days and we leave on Saturday, and you know, we might be individual competitors in the event, but we’re going to act like a team.
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, yeah.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: We’re going to represent CSU and people back home.
ELLEN SECOR: Well, and the people we beat in this tournament are really good players. You know, you’ve got Gigi Stoll, Haley Moore, you’ve got the K-State girls that were really good in college, and so –
Erica Shepherd, who’s a USGA champ?
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, both of the USGA champs. But that just gives you kind of a whole ‘nother level of confidence, that
okay, we can beat these type of college players. We can do this in regionals. It’s a really hard task, top-3 individuals –
On a non-qualifying team?
ELLEN SECOR: It’s really hard, but hey, she placed third in conference and I placed fourth. I mean, it’s really, really doable for us.
Obviously you’ve got a whole summer of competitions I’m sure you’re heading into, Women’s Am, probably trying for Women’s Open?
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Women’s open in, what, two weeks?
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, we have the qualifier in two weeks.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Week and a half.
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, we are definitely really busy right now, and we have finals next week.
Coach says that you guys are pretty good with managing your time?
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: We are. We know what we need to do on the road and what we need to do before we go to tournaments. We’re good about that, which is one thing you need to be able to do.
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, there hasn’t been much stress, too. I think that was the big thing was me and KP really prepared our schoolwork for this tournament to where we didn’t really have much schoolwork to worry about, you know, when you have these 36-hole days you are absolutely tired.
You guys are dying — well, your dads are dying?
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: They need a beer at half time, between 18s.
ELLEN SECOR: Yeah, so you really have to prepare for days like this where all you want to do is just sit down and kind of, okay, process everything.
Well, you get a couple days to take this one in and relax and just get ready for the next one. You think you guys will come back and defend next year?
ELLEN SECOR: Oh, yeah, for sure.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: Oh, we’re coming back. We’re a good team.
ELLEN SECOR: Even if we make regionals we’re coming back.
Probably it’s the same time frame as this year?
ELLEN SECOR: If we can do it this year, we can do it next year.
KATRINA PRENDERGAST: I agree.
You’ll have to get back to the USGA and see your names on that Wall of Champions next year?
ELLEN SECOR: I know, we’ve got to go see that Wall of Champions.
(FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports)