Georgia’s Jillian Hollis defeated Mikhaela Fortuna to win the 116th Women’s Western Golf Association Amateur Championship on Saturday. Hollis, a rising sophomore from Rocky River, Ohio, secured a 2-up decision in the 36-hole final at the Dayton Country Club.
All six of Hollis’ matches this week went the distance, including a 20-hole win in the semifinals. All told, she played 164 holes of golf over the past six days.
“It’s funny how golf is,” Hollis said. “Some times you think you’re really ready to play well like I was at NCAAs, and then you don’t. This week, I wasn’t so sure how I’d play, and I ended up playing nine rounds and winning. That’s a lot of golf. I just got sharper as the week went on, but my matches also got harder as the week went on. I shot 6-under on the back nine today to come back from 3-down so this is a day I’ll remember.”
Hollis was 3-down through 27 holes but captured No. 10 and No. 11 to close the gap. Fortuna bounced back to secure No. 12. Hollis then birdied to win No. 13 and No. 14 and pull the match back to all-square. After halving the next three holes, Hollis stuck her approach on No. 18 within four feet and converted her birdie putt to win.
“I just killed me drive on 18, and that put me in a place I hadn’t been all week,” Hollis said. “I was 115 yards out but clubbed down to 100 yards because I had so much adrenaline.”
Hollis’ run to the championship match included victories of 1-up over Marissa Kirkwood, 2-up over Cecily Overbey, 1-up over Brigitte Dunne and 2-up over Grace St-Germain, as well as a 20-hole win of Kelly Whaley in the semifinals.
Hollis’ mom Sharon, who played golf collegiately at both N.C. State and Ohio State, served as her caddie for much of the week.
“My mom was awesome,” Hollis said. “She knows how I think and knew what to tell me…all good things for me mentally. All of my matches were pretty tough. Match play is so much different than stroke play. She was a huge help.”