November 17, 2021
Pasadena resident Kathy Kurata came up north, took on a challenging course and tough field, and walked away a California Amateur champion.
Kurata fired a final-round 4-over 76 Wednesday at San Jose Country Club to come in at 9-over 225, polishing off what became a wire-to-wire win at the California Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. Along with simply being one of the biggest wins of her career, the victory sewed up Senior Women’s Player of the Year honors for the Mission Hills member. Kurata was also the SCGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year in 2018 and 2020.
“This is so huge because it’s a California Amateur event. It’s both the North and South,” said Kurata, who took early control of the championship thanks to an opening-round 73. “This is always such a great event. And to compete and win against this caliber of players. It’s very special.”
In winning, Kurata had to fend off among others defending champion Lara Tennant. A part-time Pebble Beach resident and the three-time defending champion of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, Tennant had entered the final round only four shots behind Kurata. Tennant never get going, however, opening with four bogeys in her first five holes en route to a final round 75 that left her three shots behind the winner. Third place went to Itsuko Moridaira at 236 following a card-off with NCGA Hall of Famer Sally Krueger.
“The whole day I just didn’t play very well,” said Tennant, who was aiming to be the first repeat winner since Corey Weworski in 2016-17. “Kathy was very consistent every day. She played very well.”
Kurata’s steadiness showed. The 61-year-old administrator for her husband’s optometry practice never scored higher than a bogey over her 54 holes.
“Lara and I are good friends. We love the competition,” Kurata said. “Watching her beautiful game—it helps me.”
Entering the championship, Kurata admittedly hadn’t been playing that well. On Friday before the championship began, she took up a friend’s suggestion and tried a new putter. On Saturday, she played a practice round with the new putter. It never left her bag.
“The greens were very challenging, so it helped me,” Kurata said. “You really had to concentrate out there.”
In the Super Senior Championship (ages 65-plus), Anna Schultz of Heath, TX shot a final round 84 to come in with a three-day total of 32-over 248, good enough for a five-shot win over runner-up Sandy Woodruff of Santa Cruz. Woodruff had a final round 85. Third place in the Super Senior went to NCGA Hall of Famer Marianne Towersey, who came in at 257 after an 85.
November 16, 2021
Pasadena resident Kathy Kurata is still in the lead, but she’s got a three-time national champion right behind her.
Kurata, the SCGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year in 2018, carded a second-round 4-over 76 Tuesday at San Jose CC to get to a two-day total of 5-over 149. She’ll enter the final round with a four-shot lead over part-time Pebble Beach resident Lara Tennant, who is no stranger to pressure. Tennant, the defending champion and winner of the last three U.S Senior Women’s Amateurs, got to within four shots of Kurata after a second-round 75.
The last player to repeat as Senior CWAC champion was Corey Weworski in 2016-17.
Shelly Haywood of Huntington Beach is alone in third at 156 following a 73. In the first round, Haywood shot 10 strokes higher. NCGA Hall of Famers Sally Krueger and Lynne Cowan are T-4 at 157 after rounds of 81 and 77, respectively.
In the Super Senior portion of the championship (ages 65-over), Anna Schultz of Texas took the lead at 164 following a second-round 83. Sandy Woodruff of Santa Cruz is alone in second place at 168 after an 87.
In the annual North/South Challenge, which pits three players from the NCGA against three from the SCGA (best 2-out-of-3), the SCGA took the title, 304-310. The SCGA won the second round, 148-152.
Representing the SCGA (pictured below) were Kurata, Shelly Haywood (73) and Akemi Nakata Khaiat (75). The NCGA (above) was represented by Tennant, Lynne Cowan (77) and Karen Garcia (82).
The cutline to advance to Wednesday’s final round came at 33-over 177.
SoCal’s Kathy Kurata obviously feels comfortable playing at San Jose Country Club. On Monday, Kurata, who hails from Pasadena and was the SCGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year in 2018, took the lead at this week’s annual California Senior Women’s Amateur with a solid first-round score of 1-over 73.
The two-time defending champion of the SCGA Senior Women’s Amateur, Kurata had three birdies en route to a front-nine 1-under par 33. On the back, she’d card a 2-over 40. In a bit of a twist, the back-nine at San Jose CC features four par-5s.
In a tie for second at 76 are NCGA Hall of Famer Sally Krueger and Hollister resident Tomi Marcus. Krueger, who has won a California Women’s Amateur (1979) but never a Senior Cal Women’s Am crown, had 14 pars and four bogeys. Marcus had a rollercoaster ride, posting four birdies but also eight bogeys.
Defending champ Lara Tennant of Pebble Beach is alone in fifth place at 78.
In the Super Senior portion of the championship (players 65-plus), Anna Schultz of Texas and Santa Cruz’ Sandy Woodruff are tied at the top at 81. Recent NCGA Hall of Fame inductee Marianne Towersey is alone in third at 87.
In the annual North/South Challenge portion of the championship, which pits three players from the SCGA vs. three players from the NCGA, the SCGA leads, 156-158. Representing the SCGA are Kathy Kurata, Shelly Haywood (83) and Akemi Nakata Khaiat (86). The NCGA is being represented by Lara Tennant, Lynne Cowan (80) and Karen Garcia (81).
Following Tuesday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 30 (and ties) advancing to Wednesday’s final round.
Defending champ Lara Tennant is back at this week’s California Senior Women’s Amateur at San Jose CC pic.twitter.com/mbKIHFmwMQ
— NCGA (@ncga1901) November 15, 2021
The championship is open to female amateur golfers who have an established current Handicap Index of 18.4 or below as of the time of registration. A total of 84 players, including exempt players will compete in the championship. The championship will be 54 holes of stroke play with the low 30 players and ties advancing to the final round after a 36-hole cut. Additionally, the super senior (age 65 or older) contestant with the low 36-hole total will also be awarded. If two or more super seniors advance to the final round, their 54-hole total will determine the winner.