Saturday, January 19, 2013


Stirling student Kelsey MacDonald from Nairn today won the Jones-Doherty match-play tournament at Coral Ridge Country Club, Fort Lauderdale, the third event on the Orange Blossom for female amateurs in Florida every January. 
Kelsey, who lost in the final of this prestigious tournament in 2009, was in outstanding form from start to finish in this week-long event. 
She was the top seed after having the best qualifying score of 69 and she finished up by beating 13-year-old "wonder girl" Mika Liu, from Beverly Hills, California, the No 3 seed, by 3 and 2 in the 18-hole final which was played in constant rain - unusual for Florida!
.Macdonald, 22, did not have to play the 17th and 18th holes in any of her four match-play ties.
Catriona (Lambert) Matthew won this tournament back in 1992
Kelsey and the Stirling University squad of Hannah McCook (Grantown on Spey), Mhairi McKay (West Kilbride), Jordana Graham (Southerness) and Georgia Gilling (Essex) now fly back to Scotland after their three-event trip to Florida.This was MacDonald's fond farewell to the Orange Blossom Tour. She plans to turn professional later in the year after completing her degree course at Stirling University.
She said her aim was to make her last half-season as an amateur a very good one - and this is a great start!
Raleigh Gowrie, the man who runs the Stirling University golf programme for men and women and took the party to Florida, said:
"It was a great achievement by Kelsey and a fantastic end to a very productive trip for her."


Kelsey MacDonald likes to play golf fast, but the going was slow in Saturday's title match of the 81st Ione D. Jones/Doherty Women's Amateur Championship and her game was suffering.
A relentless, cold rain that made for miserable playing conditions, and skillful but deliberate play by her opponent, Mika Liu, who was 2 up after five holes, contributed to the slow pace.
It wasn't until MacDonald relaxed that her attitude and her game improved and she bounced back to beat Liu 3 and 2 at Coral Ridge Country Club.
"At the start, I think I was anxious, and it was slow," MacDonald said. "I realized I wasn't going anywhere, so I sat in my cart and talked with my caddie, Jordana Graham, which helped."
MacDonald, 22, of Scotland, who is in her last year at the University of Stirling, was still 2 down after seven holes when she got hot and won the next five holes.
The key was a 7-iron that she hit to 3 feet on the 157-yard eighth hole that produced a birdie.
"I was on the verge of disaster and I managed to completely turn it around," said MacDonald, who got up and down for par on No. 9 to even the match.
MacDonald birdied No. 10 from about 8 feet, won the par-5 11th with a bogey when Liu found the water and won the par-3 12th with a par when Liu failed to get up and down.
After MacDonald sank a 4-footer to halve No. 13, Liu, an eighth-grader who made it to the quarterfinals here last year, won No. 14 with a bogey. But MacDonald stormed back, knocking a 7-iron approach to 3 inches for a birdie on No. 15 to go 3 up again and closing out the match by halving the par-3 16th.
The top seed after shooting a 69 in Monday's qualifier, MacDonald had lost in the 2009 final to a 13-year-old Lexi Thompson, which made Saturday's victory that much more meaningful.
"When you come that close, it'd be nice to finish it," she said. "It's just brilliant to have a title. To be the No. 1 seed and to win it like that is pretty awesome."
Ashley Rose, of North Augusta, S.C., was equally thrilled to win the senior division championship. She defeated Anna Schultz, of Rockwall, Texas, 6 and 4.
"My ball-striking was pretty solid and I putted extremely well," said Rose, 59, who was 4 up after five holes and 6 up after 12.
Rose had played or practiced for 24 straight days, including four tournaments. She began with a senior division victory in the Dixie Women's Amateur at Heron Bay Golf Club.
Getting through a tough field here to join past winners such as Marlene Streit and Carol Semple Thompson was the perfect way to end that run.
"I am a little overwhelmed and very honored to be part of that list," Rose said. "This is a major in the women's amateur world. And the field was a who's who of senior women's golf. I took on three USGA senior women's champions this week, so I feel pretty good about my game."
Brooke Baker beat Emily Gimpel to win the first flight Saturday and Leigh Coulter beat Barbara Pagano to win the senior first flight. Earlier in the week, World Golf Hall of Famer Streit, who won four Doherty championships and seven senior titles, won the senior second flight, Laurie Steenwood won the senior third flight and Marianne Weber won the senior fourth flight. or 954-356-4648