Joy Chou makes birdie on last hole, wins 96th Iowa Women’s Amateur
Ames’ Joy Chou (pictured above) didn’t know where she stood on the leaderboard most of the day in the final round of the 96th Iowa Women’s Amateur, but the person she was locked in a duel with she knew all too well.
Joy, along with sister and Iowa State University teammate YiTing (Ruby) Chou, battled back and forth all day long. Truth be told, Joy was just happy to be back out on the course and playing in a tournament.
“After three months of quarantine at home this was my first tournament,” Joy Chou said. “I am just trying to get myself back on track. I was just trying to come out (here) and have fun.”
Ruby, who would take the lead midway through the round, put herself in position for the title following a 32 (-3) on the front nine at Elmwood Country Club.
After an uncharacteristic double-bogey on #11, Joy buckled down and would make seven straight pars to leave her just one shot back of Ruby, who made a lengthy birdie putt on #17, heading into the final hole.
“I wasn’t really paying attention to the scoreboard,” Joy Chou said. “I didn’t want to think too much. I knew Ruby, my sister, was playing well today.”
Ruby’s long birdie putt on #17 looked to maybe be the difference, but after a wayward tee shot she found herself scrambling to make par. Meanwhile Joy hit a drive to just short of the green and chipped to almost tap-in distance.
When Ruby’s par attempt came up short, Joy calmly rolled in her birdie putt for a two-shot swing on the final hole and the win. Ruby’s 68 (-2) was the low round of the tournament, but just one shot shy overall of taking her sister into a playoff for the title.
Joy, who was T2nd last year in this event, finished with scores of 71-76-70 – 217 (+7) on a golf course that didn’t give up good scores easily.
“This is pretty cool,” Joy Chou said. “I was guessing we were close (going into #18). I had to be aggressive and maybe have a chip to make a birdie to win the tournament. The course is really nice, tough, but it was fun (to play).”
Amelia Mehmet-Grohn (3rd) and Taglao Jeeravivitaporn (T4th) joined the Chou sisters in the top five of the event. All four are teammates at ISU. Sydney Eaton, of Mason City and Dana Lerner, of Iowa City, also finished T4th place.
In the Open Division, Rockwell City’s Kathy Fortune (pictured left) outdistanced Kelly Grimes, of Indianola, by five shots for the victory. Fortune posted rounds of 86-78-82 246 (+36).