SAGINAW, Mich. – Kentucky women’s golfer Sarah Shipley will be counted on in 2019-20 to lead the Wildcats as one of two seniors with considerable experience and past success. She showed this week she’s up for the challenge by winning the 28th Women’s Golf Association of Michigan Championship.
Shipley cruised to a four-shot victory Monday and Tuesday at the Saginaw Country Club in Saginaw, Michigan. The Hastings, Michigan, native fired back-to-back rounds of 68 and 70 for a two-round total of 138 (4-under par). She was the only golfer in the 75-player field in red numbers.
Kerrigan Parks fired a second-round 65, the lowest of the tournament, but Shipley was well clear of that with a tournament-opening 68. She entered Tuesday’s final round with a two-stroke lead and her first-round competition faded.
Only six rounds were recorded under par over the two days and Shipley owned two of them.
It’s the second major amateur championship Shipley has won over the last two summers during the break. Last summer she won medalist honors in the stroke-play portion of the Michigan Women’s Amateur before falling in the semifinals of match play.
Shipley’s victory should build confidence for what’s shaping up to be a promising senior season. She’ll return to Lexington in August as the most experienced golfer on the 2019-20 roster.
Shipley has played in 31 events during her Kentucky career with 82 rounds. She owns a 75.8 stroke average with a team-best three top-10 finishes and five top-20 showings.
Last season, Shipley recorded a 75.2 stroke average, behind only the record-setting Leonie Bettel, who has exhausted her collegiate eligibility. She tied for ninth at the Gold Rush Invitational and added a 14th-place finish at the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational.
The Wildcats hope Shipley’s championship is the start of a banner week for Kentucky women’s golf. Several past, current and future Wildcats are in action, including Bettel and incoming freshman Janika Rüttimann, who are competing for Austria in the European Ladies’ Team Championship.
Current Wildcats Josephine Chang and Ryan Bender will compete at the Marion Miley Invitational at the Lexington Country Club later this week. Both fared well in the tournament last summer with Chang finishing in third place and Bender tying for sixth. Departed senior Claire Carlin won last year’s tournament.
Also in action this week, Jensen Castle and Marissa Wenzler are competing in the 44th Girls Junior PGA Championship in Hartford, Connecticut. The tournament is a 72-hole stroke-play championship with a 36-hole cut.
The Wildcats are just two months away from teeing off the 2019-20 collegiate season at the Minnesota Invitational (Sept. 9-10) in Woodbury, Minnesota. UK will lose Bettel and Carlin but welcomes arguably the most talented recruiting class in school history with Rüttimann, Castle, Wenzler and Kelsey Wylie, in addition to the returns of Shipley, Chang, Bender, Rikke Svejgård Nielsen, Casey Ott and Sarah Fite.