SAN MARTIN, Calif. (AP) — Ellen Port successfully defended her Senior Women's Amateur title for her sixth U.S. Golf Association victory.
The 52-year-old Port, a high school teacher and coach in St. Louis, beat 50-year-old Susan Cohn of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 3 and 2 on Thursday at CordeValle.
"Well, it means that I outlasted 135 really good golfers, and I think as I've reacquainted myself with some of my professional friends that played on the LPGA Tour, that to win, to play nine matches, to play a lot of rounds and accomplish that and still be standing at the end and then go ahead and seal the deal, it just is a great feeling," Port said. "All the work that you put in over the years, I can think of some of the sand shots I hit and how well I played out of the sand this week, and it just kind of is a very rewarding feeling. It's a very fulfilling feeling, and I'm honored to be a USGA champion."
Port, the 2014 U.S. Curtis Cup captain, won the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur four times.
"I love the spirit of amateurism," Port said. "I think I'm just a true amateur at heart. I love everything about it, that you can have a well-rounded life. I've always been that way. I've never specialized really in a sport. It's almost like you can have it all, and I feel like today that's how I feel."
She tied Glenna Collett Vare and Hollis Stacy for fourth place on the USGA's female victory list. JoAnne Carner tops the list with eight, and Carol Semple Thompson and Anne Quast Sander have seven. Bob Jones and Tiger Woods share the overall record with nine, one more than Jack Nicklaus.
"I don't put myself up at their level because they're the greatest in the game at their level," Port said. "But I'm very blessed in what I've been able to accomplish in a short time. I'm thrilled."
Port has remained competitive while balancing family life — she is the mother of two — and teaching and coaching duties.
"I just think I rise to the occasion," Port said. "I know I don't have a lot of opportunities, and so I really want to capitalize on those opportunities. ... I am a competitor at heart. I love the thrill of hitting shots when they matter, and I know I did that a few times out there."
Port won the first three holes, taking Nos. 1 and 2 with pars and the par-3 third with a bogey.
"I tend to get off to a slow start for whatever reason," said Cohn, who works in a golf shop. "I don't know if it's nerves, probably. Today, I joked to myself that it's not every day that you have the Golf Channel with you on the first tee. Ellen is as sweet as can be. She is a calming influence as an opponent. But, I wasn't settled. I can't blame it on everything. I hit bad shots."
A 10-time Palm Beach County Amateur winner, Cohn was playing her first USGA event since 1992.
"Ellen is an amazing player," Cohn said. "I expect her to make par or better."