AURORA, Ill. (June 25, 2021) – Mara Janess held the Icely Cup, awarded to the Women’s Western Junior champion, and struggled to describe how she was feeling.
The rising senior from Barrington, Illinois, had just defeated Katie Scheck, of Greensboro, Georgia, 5 and 4 in the championship match at Aurora Country Club on Friday. The accomplishment was starting to sink in.
“It feels amazing, and I’ve worked really hard lately,” Janess said. ”I’ve been at the top of the leaderboard at a few events, but it feels good to have finally won.”
Janess, a Michigan commit, won the opening hole of the championship match and held a 5-up advantage after winning Nos. 7, 8, 10 and 11. She closed out the match with three consecutive solid pars.
Even with a big lead, Janess knew from experience that the match wasn’t over. On Thursday, she was 4 down after six holes of her Sweet 16 match, and on Friday morning, she held a 4-up lead after nine holes, only to see it cut to 1 up after 14.
“I told myself all day that I needed to stay calm,” she said. “I knew that my opponent was on her game, so I knew I needed to stay calm and not let anything get into my head.”
Janess earned the No. 7 seed for match play after rounds of 75 and 76 in stroke-play qualifying. She dispatched Addison Klonowski, of Naples, Florida, 3 and 1 during a rainy semifinal on Friday morning. After Klonowski birdied the 14th hole to get within one, Janess won Nos. 16 and 17 with pars to make the final.
“I battled a lot in the first match,” Janess said. “I was just trying to play steady golf this morning.”
Scheck, who will attend Penn State in the fall, made the final by beating stroke play medalist Shannyn Vogler 7 and 5 on Friday morning. She was 1 down after two holes but won eight of the next 11 – including the final four holes – to roll into the championship match.
Both Janess and Scheck will be in the field at the 121st Women’s Western Amateur, to be held July 19-24 at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Illinois.
“I played in (the Women’s Western Amateur) last year, and I can’t wait for this year,” Janess said. “It’s such a great field every year, and it’s one of my favorite events.”
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), Cristie Kerr (1994), Grace Park (1993), and Nancy Lopez (1972, 1973, 1974).
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