Blakesly Brock ends dream trip and wins US Women’s Mid-Am
Blakesly Brock made sure that noon became midnight for Cinderella history in the 34th American Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at the Berkeley Hall Club. On a beautiful Thursday morning in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Brock, 25, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, refused to put Alea Clark in 64th place to win a USGA championship.
The former University of Tennessee golfer won six consecutive holes starting at # 7 to take control of the 18-hole final and claim a 5-and-4 victory that ended at 12:14 p.m. EDT . The win earned Brock an exception to the US Women’s Open 2022 next June at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, NC
At 25 years, 10 months and 20 days, Brock is the third youngest champion in US amateur history after Lauren Greenlief (02.25.25) and Sarah Ingram (03.25.26).
“I’m speechless. It was an absolute dream week for me,” said Brock, who won the Tennessee Women’s Mid-Amateur in 2021 shortly before this championship. “I’m so happy. The course was phenomenal. I enjoyed it. The superintendent did a great job, especially with the rain we had earlier in the week. The USGA was absolutely amazing. It’s a Dream.”
how it started how it ended
@BlakeslyBrock @USGA @Blackcreekclub pic.twitter.com/Q9o6x6xZB4
– Tennessee Golf Association (@TNgolf) September 30, 2021
Clark, a 25-year-old native of San Diego, California who is now a graduate student at New York University, was only the runner-up 64th to reach a USGA final, alongside Alexandra Frazier, who lost in the championship game of the 2010 US Senior Women’s Amateur at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Florida, the location of the US Women’s Mid-Amateur for the next year.
Five days ago, Clark looked like she was going home without ever serving in the match play portion of the championship. She finished stroke play 23 strokes behind record medalist Jennifer Peng and needed a birdie on the first hole of a 5-for-1 playoff to get the last spot in the draw.
That led to a first-round encounter with Peng, her good friend and amateur four-ball partner of the US women. But Clark took a stunning 1-up win and then played like a top seed in her next four games and never got past the 16th hole. That was until the championship game on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Brock created her own magic at Berkeley Hall, winning extra-hole matches in the round of 16, quarter-finals and semifinals, the latter being a 19-hole decision over 2018 champion Shannon Johnson.
She wouldn’t need such a drama on Thursday even though she lost a 1 after a bogey on the sixth par-3.
Clark’s cold putter also helped. While the former UCLA golfer’s ball stroke was solid throughout the game, she put three puttes for bogey on several greens. With the match tied by six holes, Clark missed a 10-foot for par to lose the seventh hole, and then watched Brock make a 12-foot birdie after missing from 4.5-feet to lose the eighth, and she dropped a 3-foot. slide out par putt on # 9 to go down on turn 2.
“I felt safe all day,” said Brock. “I knew I hit it great. For me, I’ve tried not to worry too much about what she’s doing and just play my own game. I think the key for me this week was that I never really got down. I just kept my head up the whole time and just tried to stick to my line and my pace.
“That [putt] on 8 was a big momentum change for me when I did birdie there. I felt safe with my putting and that is the key for me. “
Clark’s play continued to slide on the second nine when three more bogeys at # 10-12 pushed Brock’s lead up to five.
“The greens were tough today,” said Clark. “I couldn’t reduce my speed. But it is okay. I’ve reached the final, it’s great. “
What the champion receives
• A gold medal
• One year custody of the Mildred Gardiner Prunaret Trophy
• Exemption from the 2022 US Women’s Open Championship at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club
• Exceptions for the US Women’s Amateur Championships in 2022 and 2023 at Chambers Bay and Bel-Air Country Club, respectively
• Exceptions for the next 10 US women’s mid-amateur championships
• Clark, runner-up, received a silver medal, a three-year exemption for the US Women’s Amateur Championship, and an exemption for the 2022 US Amateur Championship.
• This was the first championship game with finalists in their first year of eligibility. Mid-amateurs are golfers aged 25 and over.
• The win of 5 and 4 was the biggest win in a final since Meghan Stasi defeated Liz Waynick, 6 and 5, at Briggs Ranch in San Antonio, Texas in 2012.
• Brock became the second female golfer with ties to the University of Tennessee women’s golf team to reach a USGA final in 2021. Current freshman Bailey Davis lost to world number 1 Rose Zhang in the US Girls Junior Championship game in July.
• Clark competed to become the second UCLA Bruin to win the 1987 US Women’s Mid-Amateur after inaugural champion Cindy Scholefield (now McConnell).
• Martin Rather, who is studying law at Harvard, has flown in to watch his good friend Alea Clark. Rather, he is the grandson of famous journalist Dan Rather and a former student at NYU, where Clark is in graduate school.
• Blakesly Brock and her husband / caddy Mitch also had a nice gallery with friends and family including Brock’s parents, Mitchell and Crissy Warren.
“I’m actually straight from [winning] the Tennessee Mid-Am, hopped in the car right after the last lap and got into a practice lap the next morning. You know, when I showed up on the golf course, I had a feeling. I just felt like it was going to be my week. I played great at the Tennessee Mid-Am and knew I was good enough to win that golf tournament. I didn’t really expect to win, but I knew I could and that gave me a lot of confidence. ”- Blakesly Brock on her mindset this week
“The cool thing is that after graduating, she started her own line of golf apparel called Teleri Athletics, and it’s hands down the best golf apparel I’ve ever worn. These skorts have five pockets. The hats are comfortable. I can’t say enough great things about it. The skort I’m wearing today is actually named after me. It’s called the Blakesly Skort. I wore it for good luck today and it obviously paid off. ”- Brock on her clothing designed by her former teammate / roommate Teleri Hughes of the University of Tennessee
“I haven’t even thought about it. That still starts. Gosh, I can think of a lot of people I would like to play a practice session with. Someone out there. “- Brock when asked which pros she would like to play a training round with at the US Women’s Open next year
“Having my mom and dad here just means the world. They have only supported me all my life and they have seen my ups and downs. It’s a high for sure, and I know they’ll enjoy it as much as I do. ”- Brock on her parents’ presence
“Michelle Wie said, ‘Let’s go.’ It’s like, guys, it’s that [Women’s] Mid-am; Let’s be realistic, my body is breaking. ”- Alea Clark on the support she has received from afar
“Five games later, he is here, jumping on a plane. Oh my god, and I didn’t see any of the highlights on Golf Channel [Wednesday night]but Martin was on his United flight and sent me a video of the highlights on Golf Channel and he was like he was going crazy. It was maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever got, I told my parents. It was really cool. “- Clark about his good friend Martin Lieber skipping the law class on Thursday in order to see the final in person
“It was so nice. Everyone this week felt like a great reminder of how fun golf tournaments are. Of course, I’m really disappointed that I left a few shots out there today, but the mug is still so full. I had a great time. “- Clark sums up her week
David Shefter is a senior USGA executive. Send him an email at [email protected] Joey Geske, the championship communication coordinator, helped.