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Stouffer dominates field in winning U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur

After making it to the semifinals in last year’s championship, Shelly Stouffer sealed the deal this year. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)

by Tom Cade, Editor

Shelly Stouffer of Nanoose Bay, B.C. defeated Sue Wooster of Australia 4&3 in the final match to win the 2022 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, held this week at Anchorage (Alaska) Golf Course.

This was the first USGA national championship to be held in Alaska, and is the first USGA title for Stouffer. She was 5-up after nine holes in the final match, and brought the vice down until Wooster simply ran out of holes.

Wooster is now a three-time bridesmaid in this championship, having lost in the final match in 2018 and 2019 (both times to Lara Tennant of Portland, Ore.), and now in 2022 to Stouffer.

Click here for complete final scoring.

Stouffer was a semifinalist in last year’s championship, so this year she was on a mission to complete the task, and immediately put everyone on notice during the second round of stroke-play qualifying, firing a 4-under 68 and setting a competitive course record. It was the only under-par round among the 132 competitors over the two days of qualifying, and it propelled her to earn the No. 2 seed in the match-play bracket.

And then she did not hesitate in dominating any of matches during her march through the bracket. She won her six matches by the margins of 5&3, 5&4, 8&6, 3&2, 4&3 and 4&3. It would appear that she did not once break a sweat all week.

“Pretty amazing, probably the highest win of my career,” said Stouffer, after closing out the final match. “It’s a USGA event, it’s amazing. I won the Canadian Senior last year, which got me into this [in 2021], which was amazing.

“The Canadians are so supportive of each other. Judith [Kyrinis] has been great. Unfortunately we had to play each other in the quarterfinals. Jackie [Little] is awesome. Mary Ann [Hayward], everybody. I got a text from Marlene Streit last night. She said, ‘You’ve got this, good job, keep it going.’ I got texts from lots of people, but she’s like right up there. She won this how many times? I don’t even know. Lots.”

Stouffer dominated the field in the championship, and became the player to beat (and to watch).  (Steven Gibbons/USGA)

Her victory earns her exemptions into the 2022 and 2023 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, and the 2023 and 2024 U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

Stouffer has had quite a year, winning provincially, regionally, and now nationally. Earlier this summer, she won the PNGA Senior Women’s Amateur, and played for Team BC in the 2022 PNGA Lamey Cup. She is the three-time defending champion of the BC Women’s Senior Amateur, winning the 2022 championship earlier this summer when it was held at Fairwinds Golf Club, her home course in Nanoose Bay. Shelly was married to Ward Stouffer, the longtime director of golf at Fairwinds who passed away in early 2017.

Shelly had turned professional at the age of 26, and played in six major championships, including the 2001 U.S. Women’s Open. She was reinstated as an amateur in 2011.

The 52-year-old Stouffer had her 15-year-old son Brett as her caddie for this week’s championship. “My son keeps

Stouffer had her 15-year-old son Brett as her caddie all week.(Steven Gibbons/USGA)

me calm,” she said. “I’ve been leaving him a lot this year and I needed a caddie. So I just said we’re going to Alaska, you’re going to come and it’s going to be cool.”

After six days of competition, the two of them lifted the championship trophy together. How cool is that?

Other players from the Pacific Northwest

The other five Northwest players who qualified for match play in the championship were Lara Tennant of Portland. Lara was the 3-time defending champion, trying for an unprecedented four consecutive titles. Earlier this year she was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame, and is a 4-time PNGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year. She was the No. 3 seed, and made it to the round of 16.

Jackie Little of Procter, B.C. was the No. 28 seed. She is a two-time PNGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year (2008, 2009), and was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame in 2017. She made it to the round of 64.

Terri Frohnmayer of Meridian, Idaho was the No. 32 seed. She won this championship in 2011, and was named 2011 PNGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year. She also won the 2010 PNGA Senior Women’s Amateur and the 1974 PNGA Women’s Amateur. Terri made it to this year’s quarterfinals.

Rosie Cook of Bend, Ore. was the No. 59 seed. She won the 2021 PNGA Senior Women’s Amateur, and played in last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, qualifying for match play. She made it to this year’s round of 64.

Mary Budke of Oregon was the No. 62 seed. She is a two-time winner of the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur (1970, 1971), and won the 1972 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 1976 PNGA Women’s Amateur. She was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame in 2005. She made it to this year’s round of 64.

Qualifying for the championship but not making it to match play are Cheung Ching Ng of Washougal, Wash., and Leslie Folsom of Tukwila, Wash. Folsom had qualified for the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, making it to the round of 32 in that championship.