Lauren Timpf wanted to prove something to herself.
The 14-year-old standout from Macomb Township did just that – winning the 43rd Michigan Girls’ Junior State Amateur Championship at Forest Akers East Golf Course Friday.
“It feels really good because this was my first year moving up to the overall division (age 16-18),” the Lutheran North player said after holding off Kate Brody of Grand Blanc, 2 and 1, in the championship match.
“Proving to myself that I can play with all these top competitors is a great feeling.”
Timpf dominated in the 15-and-under bracket at age 13 last year winning five consecutive GAM tournaments, including the 15-and-under bracket in the Michigan Girls’ Junior State Amateur.
She opted to move up to the championship bracket this year and it wasn’t easy. She had to rally from a 4-down deficit through 12 holes of a quarterfinal match with Elise Fennell of Caledonia Thursday, and then turn back 2019 champion Lilia Henkel of Grand Rapids 4 and 3 in the morning semifinal Friday.
Tournament age records are incomplete, but Timpf is believed to be the youngest winner in championship history.
“I set mini-goals along the way and my first goal was to make it to match play, then maybe win one match and keep progressing,” she said. “The key match was the (quarterfinal). I didn’t like being behind like that, and it was tough to get anything going. But I grinded it out and I made it happen.”
Mia Melendez of Ann Arbor made it happen to win this year’s 15-and-under division championship. She topped Alena Li of Okemos 3 and 2 in the title match. She was runner-up in the division a year ago to Timpf.
“I came in second last year so having the title was my mission,” she said after posting her second consecutive 15-and-under win of the summer. “It was a huge goal coming in – get back to the finals and win it this time.”
The overall bracket’s championship match of Timpf versus Brody was set up after Timpf’s win over Henkel and when Brody turned back Olivia Stoll of Haslett, 4 and 2, in the other semifinal.
“In my first match (with Stoll) I hit some really good iron shots and I was hitting it a little straighter off the tee,” said Brody who knocked out stroke play medalist and top seed Sophie Stevens of Highland 3 and 2 in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
“I was giving myself more birdie chances. This afternoon I was hitting it okay off the tee, but I wasn’t hitting it close with my iron shots and I wasn’t making putts either. I’m not super happy with the way I played, but Lauren played really well. In match play it comes down to who plays better on those 18 holes and who makes more putts.”
Timpf won holes 6 and 7 in the finale to take a 2-up lead. She had the same lead four more times in the match, and three times Brody rallied and cut the deficit to 1-up. A birdie by Timpf on the par 5 No. 16 hole to go 2-up and then a par on 17 sealed the win.
“That was the key hole in the match,” Timpf said of 16. “It was a tight tough match and Kate is a tough player. That was a good birdie and it put me 2-up with two holes to go”
In the 15-and-under title match, Melendez, stroke play medalist earlier in the week and the top seed, took an early 2-up lead winning holes 2 and 3, led 3-up through 10 holes and closed the match out at 16 winning the hole with a par.
Melendez said her key shot of the tournament came in the 2 and 1 morning semifinal win over Avery Manning of Dexter. She hit a 4-hybrid shot from 175 yards to three feet at No. 15 and made the putt to take a 1-up lead.