KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. – Alabama's Kristen Gillmanjumped out to a 5-up lead after the morning round on her way to a 7-and-6 victory over teammate Jiwon Jeon to win the 2018 U.S. Women's Amateur at the par-71, 6,365-yard Golf Club of Tennessee Sunday.
With the win, Gillman joins former Crimson Tide All-American Emma Talley as Alabama's second U.S. Amateur champion. Talley took home the title at the 2013 tournament in Charleston, S.C. The title is also the second of Gillman's career. The Austin, Texas, native won the 2014 U.S. Amateur at Glen Cove, N.Y., as a high schooler. Gillman is also just the sixth multiple U.S. Amateur champion since 1980.
"It feels incredible to be able to win a second time," Gillman said following the match. "It's a great accomplishment and something that's hard to do because this tournament has all of the best amateur players, so I'm really proud to be able to do it again."
Sunday's matchup was the first championship match to feature two college golfers from the same school in the 118-year history of the U.S. Women's Amateur.
Gillman never trailed in the match and raced out to a 7-up lead through the first 16 holes in the morning round before Jeon won 17 and 18 to shave the margin to 5-up heading into the afternoon 18. But that was as close as the Tide junior would come the rest of the day as Gillman pushed her lead to 6-up on the opening hole of the second 18 and never looked back.
"I kept the same mindset going out there for the second 18," Gillman added. "I treated it like it was all-square again and just tried to win that round. I think that helped keep me focused."
Sunday's win caps a stellar summer for Gillman who tied for 27th at the 2018 U.S. Open in June and was a member of the victorious U.S. teams at the Palmer and Curtis cups in June and July, respectively. In late July she won the LPGA of Japan's Century 21 Ladies' Tournament, beating a field that included more than 100 professional golfers.
The victory also earned Gillman an invitation to play on the U.S. team that will compete in the Women's World Amateur Team Championship, August 29-Sept. 1, in Kildare, Ireland.
"Kristen's victory today places her among the elite female amateur golfers of all time," Alabama head coach Mic Pottersaid after the match. "Winning multiple U.S. Amateurs is a rare accomplishment. I'm also proud of Jiwon for making it to the finals. This will be an experience that will serve her well in the future. Lauren Stephenson had an amazing week as well, coming within one shot of playing in the final herself. It is truly an honor to have all three of these women associated with our program."
Alabama opens its 2018-19 season at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate, Sept. 17-19, in Lake Elmo, Minn.
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