STARKVILLE, Miss. – A dominant Round of 16 performance and a thrilling come-from-behind win in her quarterfinal match Friday afternoon put Ally McDonald two wins away from defending her North & South Amateur title.
McDonald opened the Round of 16 with a commanding 5 & 4 win against Regina Plasencia of Guadalajara, Mexico. In the afternoon session she rallied from 3-down to post a 2 & 1 win against Jillian Hollis.
The pair of victories put the defending North & South champion into Saturday’s semifinal against second-seed Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif. Lee defeated Ashley Holder 4 & 3 before claiming a 1-up win against Maria Torres.
“I played okay in the morning, but during the afternoon match I really started playing better and executing more shots. The afternoon match was a grind because Jillian (Hollis) was playing great, but I stayed patient and the birdies came,” McDonald said. “Saturday’s match against Alison (Lee) will be a good match.”
The Fulton, Miss., native was on fire out of the gate in her opening match, winning the first two holes to take a 2-up lead. She increased the advantage to 4-up with wins on Nos. 4 and 5.
Plasencia cut McDonald’s lead to 2-up with back-to-back wins on Nos. 7 and 8, but the Bulldog all-American responded with par at No. 9 to win the hole and push the advantage back to 3-up.
She extended her cushion back to 4-up with a birdie at the 12th, and she went 5-up with a win on the 13th before clinching her quarterfinal spot the following hole.
Against Hollis in the afternoon match, McDonald played even-par golf through the first five holes but found herself 2-down on Hollis birdies at the first and fifth.
After a bogey on No. 6 put her 3-down, McDonald rallied with a birdie on the seventh to head to the back nine 2-down. She took advantage of a Hollis bogey to win the 11th then birdied the next two holes to take a 1-up lead, her first of the match.Hollis squared the match with a birdie on the No. 15, but McDonald went back in front with a par on the 16th and clinched the 2 & 1 victory with a birdie at No. 17.