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The Utah Senior Women’s State Amateur Championship crowns a new champion at Wasatch Lake Course
Nuny Kham-One won nearly half of the holes she played at Wasatch Mountain Golf Course in two rounds of match play in the 31st Utah Senior Women’s State Amateur. One of the holes she tied ultimately made a big difference in Saturday’s final match.
Two-time champion Roberta Scott was cutting into Kham-One’s lead. And then she hit a great approach shot on the par-4 No. 12, only to have her opponent respond with what became a tying birdie. Kham-One surged to a 4-and-3 victory on a spectacular September morning in the color-splashed setting of Wasatch’s Lake Course.
Turns out, having a seven-time winner as your caddie can be helpful. Kham-One followed Annette Gaiotti’s advice on the12-foot putt that maintained her 2-up lead.
“I had to make that putt, I really had to,” Kham-One said, “because I know (Scott’s) going to make her putt.”
Both of those things happened, which amounted to a victory for Kham-One at that stage. “Thanks to Annette for keeping me calm and telling me to stay still, and I did it. I was really happy to see it drop,” said Kham-One, who lives in West Jordan and, like Gaoitti, plays out of Park City Golf Club.
Kham-One and Gaiotti teamed for three consecutive titles in the Women’s Spring Open. The Senior Women’s State Am is Kham-One’s first Utah Golf Association solo victory.
“I feel like a champion,” she said.
Having turned 50 on June 1, Kham-One is right where Gaiotti was 20 years ago, having won her first UGA senior event. So there could be many more of these trophies in her future. More immediately, she will look forward to using an exemption into the LPGA Senior Championship at Copper Rock Golf Course in May, as a benefit of winning the Senior Women’s State Am..
“Holy cow, I’m ecstatic,” she said, reminded of that opportunity. “It pushes me to another level, it really does.”
Scott, 74, shot her age in Wednesday’s first round of stroke play and was hoping to add a third title to her 2007 and ‘21 victories. Her driving distance and accuracy were almost identical to Kham-One’s. But other than that nice approach on No. 12, her iron game lapsed on the back nine.
“I am getting older,” she acknowledged. “Four days in a row; I’m not used to playing that much golf consecutively.”
Scott, who lives in Washington Terrace and plays Schneiter’s Riverside, still was proud to make the semifinals for a third straight year in her 70s in an event she described as “great fun.” She also complimented the consistency of Kham-One, who moved into the lead of the Senior Women’s Player of the Year race in the final event of the UGA’s 2023 championship schedule.
In Friday’s semifinals, Kham-One won the last four holes in a 6-and-5 victory over Sharon Briggs and Scott took a 2-and-1 win over No. 1 seed Karen Seaman in a match that was tied through 13 holes. Seaman won Nos. 11-13 to pull even, before Scott took No. 14 with a par and No. 15 with a birdie and held on for the victory.
Seaman (75-73) was the qualifying medalist by three strokes over Kham-One (75-76) and Briggs (75-76). Scott (74-79) was the first-day leader and took the fourth semifinal spot by two strokes over Gaiotti (78-77).
Gaiotti made a back-nine run in an attempt to make the semifinals at age 70, birdieing No. 13 and moving into a tie with Scott, who bogeyed No. 14. Scott steadied herself and parred the last four holes, while Gaiotti bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17.
Kareen Larson (80-80) finished eighth in her first Senior Women’s State Am, after leading the competition for the UGA’s Senior Women’s Player of the Year. Other notable names missing the top four included 2011 Women’s State Am winner Julie McMullin (79-78), 2022 semifinalist Mona Stevens (78-80) and 2022 finalist Melanie Christensen (81-84).
The field of 24 was divided into three flights. Alice Harper (86-84) won Flight 2 by seven shots over Kristine Oderkirk (87-90) and Elaine Daines (90-95) took Flight 3 by five strokes over Mary Amidan (94-96).
Net winners were Briggs (69-70) in Flight 1, Odekirk (70-73) in Flight 2 and Amidan (67-69) in Flight 3.
Story by Fairways Media senior write Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos by Fairways Media/Randy Dodson.