Kiselya Plewe didn’t even warm up for the playoff.
After her round of play on Tuesday in the United States Golf Association’s U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Qualifier at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy, Utah – she thought she was done.
She was attempting to qualify for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship for her fourth time. And for the fourth time, she thought that she had come up short.
Plewe finished the 18-hole tournament four over at 76. And after teeing off in the second group, she was forced to wait for the third and final group to finish play to see where her score would put her in the standings.
She wasn’t optimistic.
“Through the course of the round I didn’t think that 76 would do it,” she explained. “Frankly, I missed some really short putts and didn’t play all that great. So it was kind of a shock that I even got in a playoff.”
But when the last group rolled in, Plewe saw three 76’s on the board, as she, Lauren Taylor and Tess Blair had all tied.
Alina Vannarath won the tournament with a 74 and Whitney Banz took second with a 75.
And then there were the three 76’s, sending Plewe, Taylor and Blair into a playoff to determine the final qualifier.
Not expecting to be in a situation to continue play, Plewe hadn’t even warmed up.
“The last group came in and then they told us that we were teeing off five minutes later,” she said. “It was all just kind of a blur.”
It was unexpected, but the 2016 Montezuma-Cortez graduate and Weber State commit remained focused.
“I really wanted it because I’ve been trying to qualify at the same golf course for four years now,” she continued. “And I really don’t like the golf course and I’ve had some pretty bad experiences there, so I kind of wanted revenge.”
She grew closer to her goal on the second hole of the sudden-death playoff, when Taylor bogeyed and was eliminated.
Plewe and Blair went toe-to-toe for three more holes until, finally, on the sixth, Plewe bested her opponent to win the playoff and secure third place, punching her ticket to the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey from July 18-23.
The USGA has open tournaments for men and women, amateur tournaments for men and women and junior tournaments for boys and girls under 18 years old. Plewe will compete in the Girls’ Junior Championship, which Dolores High School golf coach Jeff Carr referred to as, “the biggest junior amateur tournament in the country.”
“I can’t speak for her,” Carr continued. “But for most golfers, being able to qualify for a USGA event is a true feather in the cap. I mean, this is a big deal.”
Plewe is no stranger to success. She qualified for the Colorado Class 4A State Championships in each year of high school and was a three-time all-state first team selection.
But qualifying for the Junior Championship, she noted, is her biggest accomplishment yet.
“It’s probably at the top,” she said. “This is a pretty big deal for me; it’s always been one of my goals. I’ve qualified for some big tournaments in the past; I got to go play in the Optimist in Florida last year. But this is definitely the biggest one. This has been my goal, so I’m pretty excited.”
In order to prepare for the Junior Championship, Plewe plans to play in a handful of tournaments, including the USGA Women’s Amateur Championship Qualifier in Carefree, Arizona.
“I just want to be playing as much golf as possible,” she said. “On different courses and trying to get in shape and get my game as polished as I can.”
Plewe will begin Junior Championship play at The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, NJ on Monday, July 18.
“I’m going to try to go up there and play the best that I can to make the cut and get into match play,” she concluded.