Kristen Gillman made the most of her U.S. Women's Amateur debut.
Gilliman erased an early deficit against fellow 16-year-old Brooke Mackenzie Henderson and won two of the final four holes to defeat Henderson, 2 up, in the championship match Sunday at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y.
The victory caps a magical summer for Gilliman, who hails from Austin, Texas and is committed to play for the University of Alabama. She who won the Junior PGA Championship by 11 shots two weeks ago, breaking the tournament scoring record in the process.
@kristengillman receives the #USWomensAm trophy from USGA Women's Committee chair Dot Paluck. pic.twitter.com/FmLQO8t61C
— USGA (@USGA) August 10, 2014
Henderson, the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world, tied for 10th at the U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst earlier this year and was looking to become the first Canadian to win this event since 1978. She held a 2-up advantage at the halfway point of the 36-hole final, and was 3 up after 26 holes, but failed to win a hole the rest of the way while Gillman won five of the final 10.
Gillman held a brief, 1-up lead after 12 holes but didn't lead the match again until an afternoon birdie on the par-5 15th (33rd hole). The following two holes were halved with pars, though Gillman missed a putt inside of 3 feet to win the match on 17. She responded by birdieing the final hole for the victory.
Gillman's run nearly ended in the quarterfinals, when she faced a 4-down deficit with just six holes to play against Su-Hyun Oh. She came back to win that match in 20 holes, paving the way to her first USGA title.