Led after morning 18 and never let up
Auburn University has another national championship – only this time it is women’s golf.
Auburn graduate student Megan Schofill took the 2023 US Women’s Amateur title Sunday at Bel-Air Country Club in California, winning 4-and-3 over longtime friend and Southeastern Conference rival Latanna Stone.
Schofill closed out the match on the par-4 33rd hole with a 6-iron from 165 yards to 8 feet which set up a winning par when Stone lipped out her 5-footer to stay alive.
“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Schofill, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in her sixth attempt, told USGA.org. “I’m definitely still in shock. I can’t put it into words the emotions I’m feeling. It’s just such an honor to be able to say I won here this year.”
With the win, Schofill receives:
- A gold medal;
- Custody of the Robert Cox Trophy for one year;
- Exemption into the 79th U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club;
- Exemption into the next 10 US Women’s Amateur Championships, if still eligible as an amateur;
- Exemptions into the 2024 Chevron Championship, AIG Women’s British Open, and the Amundi Evian Championship (must be an amateur);
- Invitation to the 2024 Augusta National Women’s Amateur;
Megan Schofill: Her superstitious dad stayed home
Schofill played the equivalent of 5 under par with the usual match-play concessions, making eight birdies, none bigger than the back-to-back pars at the end of the morning 18 that gave her a 3-up lead and swung the match in her favor for good.
Schofill won without her parents in the gallery. They stayed home and watched in Florida.
“My dad is really superstitious,” Schofill said. “He said, I don’t know if I would be able to get through that. My nerves, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to watch. But I know they’re super proud and I know they wish they could be here. I think they’re happy that I won and didn’t feel like they messed me up.”
She did win with her boyfriend, C.J. Easley, on the bag.
“I felt like C.J. really helped me stay calm,” she said. “He’s like, regardless of the outcome, nothing is going to change. No one will look at you differently. You’re still going to be the same person. Your friends and family still going to love you. I felt like that really helped me. I really don’t think without him any of that would’ve happened this week.”
In the morning round, ater a Stone three-putt on the 15th gave Schofill a 1-up advantage, the 22-year-old from Monticello, Florida., took control in a matter of 15 minutes. First, it was a drained 55-foot birdie putt from the back of the green at the par-3 16th, then a 9-iron approach on the par-4 17th to within a foot for a conceded birdie and a 3-up advantage that she would take into the lunch break.
“I felt like that was huge going into the second 18,” said Schofill, who is currently No. 21 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. “I felt like the momentum was on my side because I won 15, 16, 17. A lot can happen in 18 holes, so I was able to just keep it together.”
A truly friendly rivalry
Stone, 21, of Riverview, Florida, won the par-5 19th to go to 2 down, but she could not get any closer the rest of the match.
“I feel like we both played really good golf out there,” said Stone, who is entering her fifth year at LSU this fall. “Even though it didn’t turn out the way that I wanted it to, I’m so happy and so grateful to be here, to get this opportunity and this experience.”
Although playing with a nagging calf injury, Stone hung tough and maintained a positive disposition while competing against her fellow Floridian and friend since eighth grade. The two often walked down the fairway together and shared smiles and laughs, enjoying the experience of competing for a national championship.
And, in the end it was the Auburn Tiger who emerged with the win over an LSU Tiger.
Featured image of Megan Schofill courtesy of the USGA