The final round of the 98th Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship concluded Wednesday afternoon at Cedar Rapids Country Club. Ruby Chou (right) tapped in for her par on the final hole and joined her sister, Joy Chou, as an Iowa Women’s Amateur Champion.
“I’m super excited to have my name right next to Joy on the trophy now,” Ruby said. “I know we both work hard every day to get to where we want to be, but golf is hard sometimes. I can’t believe I made it, and I can’t wait to show it to Joy and my parents.”
After each round, Joy gave Ruby pep talks over the phone to help keep her stay focused.
“Joy and I talked about what happened and she kept telling me to do my best and don’t think too much on the course,” Ruby said. “She told me to go out there and have fun playing the tournament.”
Joy mentioned to Ruby that she would be busy and wouldn’t be able to make it to the final round, but Ruby still had hope she might.
“She told me she was not going to be there,” Ruby said. “I had feeling that she would show up. I told myself to keep it up so that I could show her that I won the tournament.”
As the flag stick went back into the 18th hole, Ruby looked up to see her sister standing over the green.
Going into the final round, Ruby had a four-shot lead over fellow Iowa State Cyclone, Warda Amira Rawof. After the front nine, Chou was two-over and was holding on to a two-shot lead.
“I was two-over on the front nine, but I knew all of my bogeys were from three-putts,” Ruby said. “I just needed to calm down and play smart.”
After Chou made a double on 12 and a bogey on hole 13, the two teammates were tied.
“On the back nine I made double and then a bogey, which put me in a tie with Warda,” Ruby said. “I told myself it was going to be okay, and I needed to stay positive.”
Positivity was key for Chou. After sticking a wedge from 86 yards out, Chou tapped in her birdie and got back on track.
“After my birdie on 14, I told myself, ‘You got this’ and I finished strong,” Ruby said.
That she did. Chou parred the final four holes to close out the tournament and win by two-shots.
Eden Lohrbach pushed herself back into contention with the lowest final round score. Lohrbach fired a 72 to move back into third place and put the pressure on Rawof and Chou. Lohrbach has now finished inside the top-three in back-to-back Iowa Women’s Amateur Championships.
Amber Henson and Hannah Bermel tied for fourth place with 226, 54-hole tallies. Henson carded the second-lowest round of the day with a 73, and Bermel’s 76 secured a spot inside the top-five.
Rose Kubesheski won the Open Division in dominating fashion, as she earns her third victory of the season. With a final round 73, Kubesheski increased her two-shot lead into a 10-shot win over fellow U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship qualifiers, Michelle Klein and Laura Leszczynski (all pictured above).
Klein and Leszczynski tied for second with 240 tallies. Klein carded rounds of 78 and back-to-back 81’s and Leszczynski kept it consistent with three-straight rounds of 80. It was a strong week for these ladies as they head to the Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in two weeks.
Defending Open Division champion, Kelly Nelson, finished in fourth place with a 249 total. Nelson was two shots ahead of Kelly Grimes who posted the second-lowest final round total with a 75, to round out the top-five.
Next on the Iowa Golf Association’s schedule is the 57th Iowa Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Lake Panorama Golf Course in Panora. Follow to see if Leszczynski will defend her title or will someone else hoist the trophy this year.
1. Ruby Chou +3 71-72-76=219
2. Warda Amira Rawof +5 71-76-74=221
3. Eden Lohrbach +8 72-80-72=224
T4. Hannah Bermel +10 75-75-76=226
T4. Amber Henson +10 72-81-73=226
1. Rose Kubesheski +14 76-81-73=230
2. Michelle Klein +24 78-81-81=240
3. Laura Leszczynski +24 80-80-80=240
4. Kelly Nelson +33 82-84-83=249
5. Kelly Grimes +35 88-88-75=251