AURORA, Ill. (June 24, 2021) – Down four through six holes of her Sweet 16 match at Aurora Country Club on Thursday morning, Mara Janess didn’t panic.
Determined to play what she called “boring golf,” the rising senior from Barrington, Illinois, won the next three holes and eventually the match, riding that momentum into the semifinals of the 94th Women’s Western Junior.
“I wanted to find the fairways and hit greens,” said Janess, a Michigan commit. “If a putt dropped here and there – great. I just felt that would be the safest way to win.”
Janess beat Caroline McConnell, of South Fayette, Pennsylvania, 2 up in her first match Thursday and edged Nicole Gal, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, 1 up in the afternoon. She’ll be joined in the semifinals by medalist Shannyn Vogler, of Moline, Illinois; Katie Scheck, of Greensboro, Georgia; and Addison Klonowski, of Naples, Florida.
Vogler and Scheck will play at 7 a.m. in the first semifinal match Friday, with Janess and Klonowski following at 7:10 a.m. The championship match is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
All four of the quarterfinal matches were close, with Vogler and Klonowski both needing 20 holes to close out their opponents and advance.
Vogler, a rising senior, held a 2-up lead entering the 15th hole of her match against McKenzie Mages of Marietta, Georgia. Mages won Nos. 15 and 16 to pull even, and they halved three consecutive holes with pars before Vogler rolled in the winning birdie on the second playoff hole.
Vogler beat Kelli Scheck, the sister of her semifinal opponent Katie Scheck, 2 up in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.
“I was OK off the tee today,” Vogler said. “I was sort of back and forth during both matches.”
Klonowski, who closed out her first match of the day after just 13 holes, held a 2-up lead after nine holes of her quarterfinal match against Ella Weber, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Weber birdied the par-5 16th to even the match, but Klonowski made a downhill 12-foot birdie putt on the 20th hole to win.
“I just wanted to stay focused through the day because at the end, I started to feel it all,” said the rising junior. “I was very patient out there. I would just wait to see if putts would drop because you never knew when one would.”
Katie Scheck, who will attend Penn State in the fall, beat Abigail Sutherland, of Glenview, Kentucky, 3 and 2 in her quarterfinal match. She won four out of five holes on the front nine to take a 3-up lead that she never relinquished.
“I was frustrated this afternoon when I’d make a mistake,” she said. “I noticed that [frustration] was showing in my game, and then I calmed down and it got better.”
The elite field of top junior players has faced a demanding golf course and challenging weather conditions this week. To win the championship, players will have to make it through two more matches at Aurora Country Club on Friday.
“I have definitely put in a lot of work lately, and I’m playing well,” Janess said. “Getting that win tomorrow would be so awesome. Doing it for my family and everything – it would mean a lot.”
For full match play results, click here.
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).
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