Kelsey Chugg defeated Mary Jane Hiestand, 3 and 1, in Thursday’s championship match at Champions Golf Club in Houston to win the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in her first appearance in the event.
The 26-year-old from Salt Lake City is now exempt from sectional qualifying and earned an automatic spot in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek near Birmingham, Ala.
Chugg lost the first hole before taking three of the next four from Hiestand, 58, ultimately moving to 4 up with five holes to play. Hiestand got two back with pars on No. 14 and No. 16 before Chugg closed her out with a par on No. 17.
Hiestand was looking to become the oldest Women’s Mid-Amateur champion by six years.
Chugg, a former All-Big Sky player at Weber State who now serves as membership director of the Utah Golf Association, upset No. 3-seed Marissa Mar, 3 and 1, in a Wednesday semifinal match. Hiestand topped No. 4-seeded Shannon Johnson in 19 holes in her semifinal match.
Both finalists are fully exempt into the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The Mid-Amateur was originally scheduled for Oct. 7-12 at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Fla., before being relocated due to damage from Hurricane Irma.