Local golf pro and coach Dana Ebster is making big waves as a rookie in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn.
Ebster, along with Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, was atop the leaderboard following Round 1 on Thursday. She joined Sorenstam at 5 under in dramatic fashion, with an eagle on her final hole of the day, the 513-yard, par-5 11th, holing out a 115-yard shot with a 9-iron. Afterward, Ebster stood at the interview podium and tried to assess her lofty position in the 120-player field that includes 11 past U.S. Women’s Open champions.
“OMG – that’s all I got to say, OMG,” said Ebster, a Turlock Golf and Country Club pro and assistant coach at Modesto junior College who got into the field as the first alternate from the Woodburn, Ore., qualifying site.
“I’m so thankful for my club back home, Turlock Golf and Country Club,” she said. “They raised money for me to get here. I’m just the little club pro who came out, and so I’m super-excited.”
Ebster, who joined fellow first-time competitors Sorenstam and Nicole Jeray with 17 of 18 greens hit in regulation in Round 1, continued her strong play on Friday. She shot a 2-over 74 in Round 2 to sit five strokes back, in a tie with Kris Tschetter and Rosie Jones at 3-under 141.
Sorenstam continued her strong debut performance in the third U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, shooting a 3-under-par 69 in rain-delayed Round 2 on Friday at Brooklawn Country Club to take a three-stroke lead over Liselotte Neumann at 8-under-par 136. A fellow Swede and fellow U.S. Women’s Open champion, Neumann birdied four of her last seven holes on Friday to match Sorenstam’s 69 while playing alongside her.
Ellen Port, 59, a seven-time USGA champion, shot rounds of 71-69 to share third place with Yuko Saito, of Japan, at 4-under 140. Port played with Carol Semple Thompson and JoAnne Carner in Rounds 1 and 2, a group that has won a combined 22 USGA championships.
Defending champion Helen Alfredsson and 2018 champion Laura Davies both finished 36 holes at 2 over par, while two-time runner-up and five-time USGA champion Juli Inkster is at 3 over. Alfredsson matched par of 72 on Friday, while Inkster shot 74 and Davies shot 75.
Round 2 will resume on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. EDT, with Round 3 expected to begin at approximately 10:30 a.m. (time subject to change). Rounds 3 and 4 on Saturday and Sunday will be on Golf Channel from 2-5 p.m. EDT.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to be with Annika [on Saturday], but I’ll be in one of the other groups, which I’m super-excited about because I’ve seen their names and watched them play, and I’m like, Hey, this is going to be cool. … They’re going to be, ‘OK, relax. It’s just golf,’” said Ebster, on playing in one of the final groups in Round 3.