Finding herself in the mix after one round of the Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, Mary Budke stared down a three-stroke deficit as she teed off for her final round of Thursday. Chasing clubhouse leader Akemi Nakata Khaiat, who shot one-over 73 in the first round, Budke flipped the script on its head with a final round three-under 69 that was more than enough to clinch her first SCGA senior amateur title at Soule Park GC.
Despite a slow start to her final round with two bogeys in the first three holes, Budke played near perfect golf the rest of the way. She immediately erased those bogeys with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5, improving her score back to four-over overall. With two bogeys from Nakata Khaiat in her first three holes, Budke found herself within striking distance of the lead.
She knocked in another birdie on No. 9 to get to three-under and share the lead with Nakata Khaiat as the group approached the back nine. The two remained deadlocked at the top of the leaderboard until the 16th hole, where Budke birdied to take the solo lead. A bogey from Nakata Khaiat on No. 17 doubled Budke’s lead. Budke slammed the door shut with a birdie on the 18th to solidify her victory in an impressive come from behind fashion.
Budke’s final round 69 stood as the only round logged under par throughout the championship, and it came at the perfect time. She finished at one-over overall, while Nakai Khaiat took home second place at four-over. Three-time Senior Women’s Am champion Kathy Kurata came in third at seven-over.