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Ports wins her 13th Metropolitan Women’s Amateur championship

Lucky No. 13?

For Ellen Port, the number’s good. Port won her 13th Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship recently at Forest Hills Country Club. It was her first title since 2010.

Port, who has won six USGA events, outlasted defending champion Catherine Dolan over 36 holes, winning by five strokes with scores of 72-70 for a 2-under total to win the 22nd annual MAGA Women’s Amateur. Her name again will be etched onto the Jayne M. Watson Trophy.

“It’s been a good month for me,” Port said.

Port, of course, was the captain of the U.S. team in the Curtis Cup that was held at St. Louis Country Club. The United States handily defeated the team of women amateurs from Great Britain and Ireland to bring the trophy back to this country after losing it in 2012. Port now has played on a winning team and coached on the a winning Cup team.

As a result of working so much with the team, Port has not had much time to work on her own game.

But she got some practice rounds before the tournament and it was enough to dethrone Dolan, a Parkway West and Missouri State graduate.

“They said it was No. 13 for me,” Port said. “I’m not one much to keep track of things like that. I just plug away. It all adds up and then I find out.”

About a week before the tournament, Port began to play and practice.

“I know my swing well and that helps,” Port said. “I know what to do but I can’t always do it. I got some blisters back on my hand. I need to get some callouses on my hands and that will come. I just hadn’t gotten much chance to play because of my responsibilities with the Curtis Cup team.”

Despite not much practice time, Port said she was pleased with how she played.

“I did fine. I did well. I putted well,” Port said. “My short game, because I haven’t played a whole lot, needs some work. But I monitor my playing and I have to put my game together after a December to June layoff.

“My focus has been with the Curtis Cup. That was very important and so rewarding. I had to keep tune up before the tournament. The good news is I putted well and my short game, I’ve put a premium on it, it helped me a little bit. I did surprisingly well.”

It helped the tournament was at Forest Hills in Clarkson Valley. The course was the home for an LPGA tournament that was held in there in the 1990s. The course is tight.

Port knows the course and likes it.

“It’s a nice club and it was in great condition. It’s very tight with the bends and the narrowness of it. It’s always interesting. I didn’t hit my driver very often.  I didn’t commit to some of my shots and that’s when I got in some trouble.

“It’s nice to fight through those. You have to play your way back into tournament toughness.”

She opened with a round of 72. Port recorded four birdies and opening her round with a bogey. She had a double bogey on the par-5 No.. 7.

In her second round, Port closed with a 70 to pick up the win by five shots. Port scored birdies on two of the first four holes. She bogeyed three of the last seven holes but she also had nine one-putt greens.

“Each day is a little different,” Port said. “I did some things better on the first day. The second round I didn’t drive as well but I hit the greens better. Each day had its strengths.”

Port likes playing with Dolan.

“We have had some nice back and forths over the years,” Port said. “I always enjoy playing with her. She’s a great player. We also had Brooke Cusumano in our group on the last day. She’s a good young player, too.”

Last year, Dolan won the tourney and then went on to win the state women’s tournament, topping Port there.

The state tournament is coming up.

Port has her sights set on doing well there.

“You’ve got to play your way into shape,” Port said. “Sometimes you play well and sometimes you don’t.  I was pleased with how I did. It’s nice to be competitive and put the ball in the hole. I always enjoy the challenges of golf.”

After the state tournament, Port said she will compete in the MAGA’s Mid-Amateur at Greenbriar Country Club.

Then she will play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y. The tournament begins Aug. 4.

“I’m exempt there,” Port said. “I’m excited to be playing in it.”

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