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Rinko Mitsunaga Wins Georgia Women's Match Play Championship
ATLANTA, Ga. --- Rinko Mitsunaga of Roswell (left) defeated Payton Schanen of Milton in the final match, 3 and 2, to win the Georgia Women's Match Play Championship. The 18th playing of this annual competition took place at Piedmont Driving Club, June 8-11.
Mitsunaga, fresh off winning the U.S. Women's Four-Ball Championship with partner Mika Liu, continued her solid play this week at Piedmont Driving Club. The final match began all square and stayed that way over the first three holes. Mitsunaga was the first to make a move with a birdie on four to take a 1 up lead. She would win the next three holes (five, six and seven), and make the turn with a 4 up advantage over Schanen. Mitsunaga made birdie on 10 to go to 5 up. Schanen made her first birdie of the day on 12 to cut the lead to 4 up, and another birdie on 14 cut the lead to 3 up with four to play. The two halved 15 and 16, sealing the victory for Mitsunaga, 3 and 2.
Mitsunaga earned the fourth-seed after posting a 1-over-par 73 in the 18-hole stroke play qualifying round. She then made her way through the bracket first with a win in the round of 32 over Jenna Birch of Pooler, 2 and 1. Mitsunaga defeated Teresa Caballer Hernani of Augusta 1 up in the round of 16. The quarterfinal match featured a pair of reigning national champions, Mitsunaga and Margaret Shirley of Atlanta (U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur champion), where Mitsunaga needed 19 holes for the win. She then topped the top-seed, Sydney Needham of Villa Rica in the semifinals, again in 19 holes.
Schanen, winner of last year's Georgia Girls' Championship, posted a 4-over-par 76 in the stroke play qualifying round, which gave her the 11-seed. In the round of 32, she beat Karmanprit Kaur of Lawrenceville, 4 and 2, then defeated Rebecka Surtevall of Russellville, 5 and 4, in the round of 16. Schanen, who will begin her collegiate career at Mercer University next fall, beat Hannah Barger of Elberton, 2 and 1, in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, she defeated Emilie Burger of Atlanta, 4 and 3.
In the Tournament division, Danielle Davis of St. Simons Island beat Abbey Williams of Marietta, 2 and 1, to claim flight honors. Davis made it to the final match with victories over Kay Yun of Johns Creek (6 and 5) in the round of 16, Rebeca Garcia of Marietta (3 and 2) in the quarterfinals and Najae Butler of Atlanta (2 and 1) in the semifinals.
Entries were open to female amateur golfers who are members of a GSGA member club. Piedmont Driving Club is playing to 6,063 yards and a par 72 for the Georgia Women's Match Play Championship.