By Marc Hardin
GCWGA President Tracey Capuano and Ali Green
Young go-getter Ali Green has the gumption to succeed and a surname well suited for the sport she plays, and just enough game following a year layoff to win Greater Cincinnati’s most coveted women’s amateur prize. The goal-driven and aptly-named golfer defeated Youngstown State’s Megan Creager 5 and 4 in Thursday’s match-play final in the championship flight of the 102nd Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship at Terrace Park Country Club.
Following her big win, Green accepted the glass trophy from the GCGA and GCWGA and posed for pictures while surrounded by loved ones. It was another big moment in a young life already full of them. The first-year school teacher has been absolutely thrilled to find her golf game still intact after stepping away from competitive action.
“This feels great,” said Green as she beamed with family flanking her on the celebratory outdoor patio at Terrace Park. “It feels wonderful.”
As one might expect from someone named Green, the one-time Lakota West High School standout hit the greens early and often during her four days of outstanding play at the par-72 Milford course. The former Ashland University golfer began with a 1-under-par co-medalist performance that earned the tournament’s top seed during Monday qualifying and put the 60-player field on notice.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Green said. “So I love it when I can compete.”
She wasn’t too shabby after grabbing the putter from her father who was on the bag Thursday, parlaying several approach shots into converted putts. Speaking ahead of the championship match, Green said she had to make fairways, greens and putts to win her first Met. She not only made them, she crafted some into art forms as she stormed her way to a wire-to-wire lead.
Stellar wedge play in particular helped set the tone early on 322-yard hole No. 1 where she got to within three feet of the pin with a 70-foot approach shot that looked like it might go in. She settled for birdie on the par-4 opener but won the hole against Creager and never looked back. “I had the same amount of jitters coming to the first tee but I felt really comfortable after that. It was a good round of golf,” said Green.
Third-seeded Creager, a former Milford golfer entering her junior season at Youngstown State, stayed within a shot until falling two back through seven. Green went 3-up on No. 8 with par against the Coldstream representative. Looking strong with the driver, Green’s second birdie on par-3 No. 11 added a shot to her lead. She went 5-up on 12. Green was accurate out of the tee box on a daily basis, culminating in her victory. And she was good to the last drop, clinching on No. 14 with a shot for par, leaving the final four holes untraversed.
Green’s all-around game and domination against top competition was so complete that she didn’t step foot on the 18th hole after qualifying. She beat veteran Lesli Hopping 4 and 3 in the round of 16. She eliminated 2015 Ohio high school state champion Kellen Alsip of North Carolina-Asheville in Wednesday’s quarterfinals 2 and 1. Later in the day, she won 4 and 2 against 2014 Metropolitan champ and former Xavier golfer Emily Stipanovich, who looked like she was rolling with two lopsided wins on her home course before running into the Green buzzsaw.
Creager, a two-time high school conference player of the year, also beat a former Met champion in the semis with a victory over two-time winner and second seed Lynn Thompson. Last year’s champion Katie Hallinan did not play due to a schedule conflict but she caddied for a friend in a flight championship and was on hand for Thursday’s handing out of winning trophies.
Other winners were Mackenzie Laumann (First Flight), Alexandra Gomez (Second Flight), Maryanne Cardone (Joan Comisar Flight), Kyle Earhart (Jane DeGroff Flight), Susie Hammitt (Marg F. Lillard Flight), and Terry Tipton-Wachs (Louise Kepley Flight).
Green joins an exclusive list of Women’s Met champions from Four Bridges Country Club. Cathy Almquist won in 2003 at Four Bridges and 2008 on Beckett Ridge. Four Bridges joins Cincinnati Country Club and Terrace Park as the only clubs with three Met champions since 1990. It’s Green’s first city crown in five tries. This was her second final. She lost to Alex Carl in 2013. Not bad for a golfer who’s trying to shake off a little rust.
The Met was Green’s second competitive event since closing her successful college career in the spring of 2016. Following graduation from Ashland, she earned a job as a special education teacher at Reading Middle School, fulfilling a long held aspiration, and began focusing on a career devoted to children with special needs.
Green is great at meeting goals. She not only aspired to play high school and college golf but she wanted to win championships and she did that. She was determined to be hired into the work force right after college and she succeeded. On Thursday at Terrace Park, she checked off a personal bucket list item by winning the GCWGA’s marquee event.
“This is definitely big. I won a conference championship and a super-regional championship. Those are big wins for a college player but this is up there,” Green said. “It’s wonderful to know that even though I’ve taken a full-time job, I can still do that.”