CARMEL, Ind. (June 20, 2019) – Gabriella Gilrowski edged Jocelyn Bruch, 2 and 1, Thursday in a championship match featuring a pair of local 17 year olds in the 93rd Women’s Western Junior Tournament at Woodland Country Club.
Gilrowski, of Westfield, and Jocelyn Bruch, of Carmel, both are rising high school seniors who play out of nearby Bridgewater Club in Carmel.
The two, who have been competing against one another for years, outdueled a field of national juniors to turn the final match into a Bridgewater showdown.
To reach the championship match, Gilrowski defeated opponents from Canada, Kentucky and Missouri. Bruch reached the finals by turning back players from Colorado and Texas before edging another local talent, Nathaly Munnicha, of Columbus, Indiana, in the semifinals.
“I knew I had the capabilities to win,” Gilrowski said. “My goal was birdie on every hole. Even when I made bogey, I bounced back with birdie or a solid par.”
In the final match, Gilrowski and Bruch were all square after seven holes before Gilrowski parred the par 3, 8th to take a lead she never relinquished. On the par 4, 9th, she holed an 18-foot birdie putt to go 2 up at the turn.
From there, she continued to gain momentum, winning the par 4, 10th with a par to extend the lead to 3 up. Another win with a par at the par 4, 14th put her 4 up with four to play. Bruch battled back, winning holes 15 and 16, but Gilrowski halved the 17th to claim the victory and the Women’s Western Junior’s Icely Trophy.
“Being the underdog as the number 12 seed, fueled me to hit the shots and drain the putts,” Gilrowski said. “Match play suits me.”
Bruch was proud of her play but disappointed.
“I had good momentum coming into the championship match,” Bruch said. “I played solid golf all week. Even when I stumbled, I kept my foot on the gas.”
In the semifinal match, Gilrowski defeated No. 1 seed and medalist, Brooke Biermann of Wildwood, Missouri. The match tested both players through wind and rain.
“Brooke is a really good player,” Gilrowski said. “I was 3 up and she came back. I had to make birdie on the 20th hole to win. That was a really good feeling.”
In the other semifinal match, Bruch defeated Munnicha, 3 and 2
“My putter was hot or cold,” Bruch said. “Nathaly fought back, but I kept my foot on the gas.”
Gilrowski’s win earns her an automatic exemption into the 119th Women’s Western Amateur Tournament set for Royal Melbourne Country Club in Long Grove, Illinois, July 15-20.
The Women’s Western Junior Championship is a testing ground for the stars of the future. Past Champions include Candie Kung (1998), Christie Kerr (1994), Grace Park (1993), and Nancy Lopez (1972, 1973, 1974).