United States Rallies on Back Nine to Win 2022 Women's PGA Cup
The U.S. Team poses for a photo with the Women's PGA Cup during the final round of the 2nd Women's PGA Cup at Twin Warriors Golf Club on Saturday, October 29, 2022 in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/PGA of America)
Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth was disappointed following her opening round score of 7-over par 80 at the 2022 Women’s PGA Cup at Twin Warriors Golf Club.
Connelly-Eiswerth, a Teaching Professional at San Jose Country Club and a North Florida PGA Section Member, responded in a big way for the United States on both Friday and Saturday, as she was the team’s top performer during the second and third rounds.
Connelly-Eiswerth recorded her second consecutive 3-under par 70 today to help the United States (1-under par, 656) win the 2nd Women’s PGA Cup by two strokes over Canada (1-over par, 658).
Great Britain & Ireland (662) finished in third place, followed by Australia (686) in fourth, Sweden (698) in fifth and South Africa (753)—playing in the PGA Cup for the first time—in sixth.
The U.S. has captured both Women’s PGA Cups after also winning the inaugural event in 2019 at Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas.
The United States Team, which began the third and final round with a one-shot lead over first-round leader Team Canada, trailed by as many as five strokes on Saturday.
“Nobody panicked,” said PGA President and United States Captain Jim Richerson. “Everybody just played their game, concentrating on what we talked about all week, which was one shot at a time, one hole at a time.”
Connelly-Eiswerth’s par on the par-4, 395-yard 18th hole clinched the title. She was immediately mobbed by teammates as the celebration began.
“It’s everything and more,” said Connelly-Eiswerth. “I really wanted to qualify for this. To qualify and also to win it, it’s not just being here and being part of the team. You want to win with the team. It’s truly incredible.”
Philadelphia PGA Section Member Joanna Coe, the Director of Instruction at Merion Golf Club in Haverford, Pennsylvania; and Middle Atlantic PGA Section Member Ashley Grier, an Assistant Golf Professional at Yingling's Golf Center in Hagerstown, Maryland, were the U.S. team’s next two lowest scorers.
Coe registered an even-par 73, while Grier shot 1-over par 74 to help the U.S. record a 2-under par 217 on the final day.
“All week, I hit it really about as well as I could have asked for,” said Grier. “We stayed patient, didn’t try to force anything, and made a few birdies here and there. That was the difference.”
The 10th, 11th and 12th holes at Twin Warriors Golf Club proved challenging throughout the week due to their extreme elevation changes and sightlines and winter-like weather conditions on Thursday.
The U.S. team’s top three scorers combined for even-par through that three-hole stretch on Saturday. Meanwhile, Canada recorded a pair of back-nine bogeys that proved pivotal.
“That really helped,” said Richerson. “We picked up a couple shots there. The ladies played fantastic down the stretch to retain the Cup. I’m just so proud of the way they played.”
Connelly-Eiswerth’s 1-under par 35 on the back-nine helped close out the win. She birdied the par-4 350-yard 14th and the par-5 542-yard 16th. Grier also birdied the 16th to help the U.S. hold off Canada.
“I was hitting the ball really well,” said Connelly-Eiswerth. “I was getting on the green. I kept giving myself chances. The biggest thing is that I stayed on the shot that was in front of me. I was happy to mentally stay in the moment.”
For Canada, Caroline Ciot shot 3-under par 70, while Christine Wong posted an even-par 73 and Casey Ward registered a 2-over par 75 to help their team finish at 218.
Great Britain & Ireland (224) was led by Heather MacRae (3-under par 70), Suzanne Dickens (2-over par 75) and Alison Gray (3-over par 76) on Saturday.
The United States’ Coe thinks the competition this week is a strong testament to the state of women’s golf across the world.
“I’m just so proud of the PGA of America and proud of women’s golf for another team to be added to this event,” said Coe. “For us to end up under par as a team after that craziness of round one, we got a squad for sure. For the other countries to be right there with us, that means women’s golf is in a really good place.”
Winning the 2022 Women’s PGA Cup as United States Captain will be a lasting memory for Richerson.
“When you’re fortunate enough to be elected as an Officer and represent PGA Members, you get to be involved in some really cool things,” said Richerson. “The things that stand out for me the most are those that are memories with PGA Members. Being involved with this team with five unbelievable PGA Professionals, five ladies that are unbelievable players, it’ll be a memory that I have for a long time.”
NEWS & NOTES
GUTIERREZ HONORED TO HOST 2022 WOMEN’S PGA CUP
PGA Board of Directors Member Derek Gutierrez, General Manager & Director of Golf for Santa Ana Golf Club Inc., was thrilled to host the 2022 Women’s PGA Cup.
“It felt like it couldn’t get here fast enough,” said Gutierrez. “It’s everything we dreamed it would be and more. To have fellow golf Professionals from all over the world and, of course, our PGA Members from America here, it’s just a tremendous experience.”
Twin Warriors Golf Club has hosted several PGA of America events, including the 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship.
While Gutierrez is already looking forward to hosting the 2023 PGA Professional Championship next April, the just-completed 2022 Women’s PGA Cup is an experience he won’t soon forget.
“I can tell you on behalf of our ownership, Santa Ana Tribal Council, Santa Ana Golf Club Board of Directors, this is going to be one of our Championship highlights in our 30 years of operating golf courses,” said Gutierrez. “To have women from all over the world representing their countries on the historic Twin Warriors Golf Club, it’s an honor and a career highlight.”
SOUTH AFRICA RELISHES WOMEN’S PGA CUP DEBUT
South Africa Captain Leigh-Jane Middleton, the Head Teaching Professional at Bryanston Country Club in Johannesburg, raved about her team’s debut experience at the 2022 Women’s PGA Cup.
“We’ve been spoiled rotten by the PGA of America,” said Middleton. “The golf course has been absolutely spectacular. The staff at the hotel, the pro shop staff, the halfway house, it’s been so amazing. Getting to know the other teams, captains and representatives from other associations, and to be able to share experiences and our journeys, it’s something that’s going to walk with us forever.”
South Africa’s PGA Association contains around 50 women. The group worked all year to orchestrate a self-funded trip to this week’s event.
“I find myself quite speechless,” said Middleton. “I’m not often speechless, but I can’t find the words that are descriptive enough to explain what this experience has been for us and what it has meant for us.”
ANDONIAN WINS COLORADO WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Team U.S.’s Sherry Andonian, a Teaching Professional at Valley Country Club & Mountain View Country Club at La Quinta representing the Colorado Section, was selected on Friday as Colorado PGA’s Woman Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.
LOCAL GIRLS ATTEND ‘MEET THE PROS/LEARN THE GAME’ CLINIC
PGA Career Services hosted a “Meet the Pros/Learn the Game” clinic for nearly 20 local girls on Wednesday at Twin Warriors Golf Club. The girls participated in a Q&A with players from all six associations competing in the Women’s PGA Cup, received instruction from local PGA Professionals and attended this week’s opening ceremony.
REMEMBERING BRITTANY KELLY
The U.S. team remembered 2019 team member and PGA Professional Brittany Kelly this week by wearing “BK Strong” bracelets and bag tags. Kelly, who helped the U.S. team win the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup, passed away following a courageous battle with cancer in August 2021.
“She was a friend to everybody she met,” said Richerson. “She was a huge part of the 2019 Cup team. All of the team here knew her well, and she had special friendships with people. They were even talking about ‘BK’ when we were waiting for the last couple groups to come in and how proud she would be of this team.”
For more information about the 2022 Women’s PGA Cup, visit PGA.com.