Emma Welch of Lakeville, Minn. defeated Aayushi Sarkar of Woodbury, Minn. 2&1 to win the 2018 Players Tour Match Play Championship at Cragun’s Legacy Courses in Brainerd, Minn. Welch, the top-seed and a sophomore on the Lakeville North Girls Golf team, becomes the second Welch to win the Players Tour Match Play in three years as her older sister Megan claimed the 2016 title.
“It was one of my goals this year to win the Match Play.” said Welch. “I’m most excited to be back on the Minnesota PGA Junior Cup Matches team after winning since that is my favorite event.”
Welch punched her ticket into the championship match with a convincing 5&4 victory over Dasha Parker of Hopkins, Minn. in the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, Sarkar defeated Madi Hicks of Victoria 2&1 to claim her spot in the finals.
In the championship match, Welch and Sarkar battled early on with each winning three holes apiece thru 10 holes. Welch first gained control of the match by winning both the par-5 13th and par-4 14th consecutively including a chip-in birdie on 14 to move 2-up. Sarkar would respond with a par on the very next hole to cut the lead in half, but it wouldn’t be enough. Welch answered again with a birdie at the par-5 16th to go dormie. Only needing to tie one of the last two holes, Welch did what she needed to do and made par at the 17th to halve the hole for the title.
“I drove the ball really well this week.” emphasized Welch in response to what made her successful. “I don’t let the pressure get to me when I need to make a putt. I made the putts when I had to.”