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Port wins Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship for 16th time

By: Warren Mayes


Ellen Port at the 26th Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship
[MAGA photo]

Ellen Port plans to play more competitive golf this summer. She’s off to a good start.

Port won her 16th Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship at Sunset Hills Country Club last week.

This week, she is playing in the Women’s Western Amateur Championship that runs through June 30 at the Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Illinois.

Port posted a 6-over 150 to win the tournament. That means she brought the Jayne M. Watson Trophy back to her home for another year until next year’s tournament.

“I was a little surprised I won,” Port said. “I didn’t think I had a prayer. I’m shocked nobody surpassed me. Winning on your home course is always fun.

“I love that Watson trophy. She was there and she awarded it to me. She watched the back nine. I think she brought me good luck. I was inspired.”

Port did not have a good day on the golf course in Round 1 of the 26th Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship. She shot a 79.

“Darn, I hate playing bad,” Port said. “I was due though. It keeps you humble, keeps you grinding. I think I just didn’t have it that day. It was playing a set of tees I wasn’t familiar with. I just kind of steered some. I didn’t drive particularly well.

“I didn’t read the greens that good. I hit some bad shots. I had to adjust to the pace of a tournament.”

Port was five shots behind the first-round leader Logan Otter, who will be a redshirt junior this fall at Michigan State. Otter, who is from St. Peters, played for Port at John Burroughs.

Port did grind in Round 2. Despite two double bogeys on her card, she had five birdies en route to a 1-under 71. It was the only sub-par round of the championship. And it was good enough to win the event for the 16th time.

How does Port feel about winning it that many times?

“Well, it means I’m old and been around the block a while,” Port quipped. “The Metro is always a good two-day event. I love playing in it. It’s nice to know you can still compete.

“I’m 56 years old. I still enjoy it. I’m still competitive.”

Recent Missouri-St. Louis transfer Madison DeRousse carded rounds of 76-75 to finish one stroke back of Port for second place. DeRousse, who played at Ste. Genevieve High School and attended Alabama State her freshman year is coming home and will play on coach Troy Halterman’s UMSL squad this fall.

In the Net Division Championship, Flight A Champion was Maria Morrison [75-65] and the runner-up was Oanh Wieland [74-69].

Port played in the Normandy Amateur last month. She was the only female playing in the tournament.

“I’m trying to get back in the feel,” Port said. “I finished 15th. It was set up at 6,400 yards and it was wet. I didn’t necessarily hit the ball well. I just competed. I accepted the good and bad and got in the mental game.

“I’ve done that for years when I was more competitive. I love playing with the guys. I didn’t have any expectations going in. I couldn’t reach three of the four par 4s, it was so wet and long. I got up and down. I treated them like a par 5 and if I got a 4, it was great.”

Port recently stepped down as the women’s golf coach at Washington University. Before that, she spent 32 years coaching at John Burroughs.

“My time as a collegiate coach was challenging and extremely rewarding – a good combination,” Port said. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be associated with Wash U. athletics and Division III golf.”

With that, Port now has coached and taught at the elementary , junior high, high school and collegiate level. So is she fully retired now?

“I can’t say the ‘R-word’ yet,” Port said. “I don’t know if I am or not. My kids are in college. I’m taking a little sabbatical here.”

Daughter Katie is a sophomore at Arkansas. Son Drew is a senior at Tulsa.

Since she’s not coaching, Port plans to play much more this summer.

She plans to play in the first-ever U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship. It will be played July 12-15 at the historic Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton. The field will include 120 players and is open to professionals and amateur golfers who are 50 years of age and are exempt or qualify for the championship.

Port has a sterling amateur record. She is one of the most accomplished women amateur players in history.

She won the 2016 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and the victory marked her seventh United States Golf Association title; She also has won the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur in 2012 and ’13, and the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amater in 1995, ’96, 2000 and ’11.

Port would like to get her game back up to speed.

“It’s being resurrected. I’m a little inconsistent,” Port said. “I’ve had rounds where I’m in synch and I’m good and then I’m off. My confidence is off a little bit. I played only one major tourney last year – the Women’s Senior.

“I had no other big events. I’ve had almost two years off from playing. I’m more used to playing causal golf. I’m not where I need to be.”

The only way to get where she wants to be, Port said, it to play more.

“You’ve got to play your way into shape if you don’t play on a consistent basis,” Port said. “Golf doesn’t owe you anything. You have to make the swing. You have to make your mind and body do what it needs to do in tournament golf.”

She will try that this week in the Women’s’ Western Amateur.

“I used to play in that years ago,” Port said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to have a big summer of golf. I have opportunity to do it.”

She has a has an exemption for the U.S. Amateur. That will be played Aug. 6-12 at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

Port will play in the Women’s Mid-Amateur at Norwood Hills Country Club Sept. 22-27.

Then, she will play Oct. 6-11 in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

“It’s going to be fun,” Port said.

 

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