Olivia Prokopova Wins Her Third Green Jacket
14 Oct 2021 at 14:14 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 639 | News search
Olivia and daughter Amelie (Photo by The Putting Penguin)
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - A lot may have changed for Olivia Prokopova since the last time she won the USPMGA Master's green jacket in 2013 but one thing that didn't is her putting in the clutch. With three aces in the final four holes of the 2021 Master's, she closed out the grueling event to become a three-time winner and the first mom to grab the jacket. » Final Results
Just in the past year, Prokopova got married to fellow putter Wade Sahmel, who finished 11th in the Master's, and saw the birth of their daughter Amelie. It was not the easiest of years though as Amelie was born prematurely and Olivia had various complications during birth, but her focus as a putter and the love and support of her family helped overcome the odds the past week.
The 2021 edition of the Master's was a twelve round competition played over three days and three courses. The first two days saw a third of the field work their way through three rounds each at Hawaiian Rumble, the Pineapple course at Hawaiian Village and the Aloha course. With the best players spread across those courses, there's a lot of mental gymnastics happening to figure out where people are going to land before the whole field comes together for the tenth round at Aloha. This year it was even more so because that round start was moved up due to threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon on Friday so there was no re-pairing during that round. It wouldn't be until the end of the tenth round where we would see how the field shook out from the week.
At that point, Prokopova, who had started the tournament on the hardest of the three courses, Pineapple, trailed by two strokes to Joey Graybeal (2109 champion) and one stroke to Rainey Statum (2020 champion). She had kept it tight by posting a 25 on her second round at Aloha, which tied Gary English for the lowest round of the tournament. It would then be off to the races for Prokopova who would post four-straight 30s across Aloha and Rumble.
What everyone didn't know was that the Top 35, who had made the "cut" to play later on Saturday morning for their final two rounds, were in for some weather for those rounds. After adjusting to new carpet on the Rumble course it would now be a case of who could adjust to the carpets speed in rain, a condition which hadn't really been seen much in practice that week. With the top ten only separated by eight strokes and it being a group of accomplished putters and Master's winners, everyone was in for a treat.
The first moves were made in round eleven as Statum would post a respectable 32 but Prokopova's 30 would slide her past him for the top spot as Graybeal carded a 34. It was then a matter of holding on for 18 holes, which was a tough feat as Statum posted an even better 31 in the final round. Once again given the threat of weather, there was no re-pairing for the final round so Prokopova found herself ahead on the course of Statum and Graybeal coming down the final stretch. So when she aced the easier hole one and then the more difficult, with the new carpet, hole 2, the field knew the pressure was on. However, she all but sealed it with an ace on hole 4, which until then had only 7 aces for the entire tournament. When Statum hit a deuce on three it was over and Sahmel got to celebrate with her family. It also clinched the women's title for her and with Graybeal as her doubles partner there was no doubt about them winning that title as well. Statum would finish 2nd and Graybeal would finish in a tie for 3rd with Matt McCaslin who was also inducted into the USPMGA Hall of Fame in 2021. He is the 14th inductee.
Taking the stop spot earned Prokopova $5,500 (~4755 EUR). This year's tournament paid down to 35th, which took home $125 (~108 EUR). Full results and more information can be found at the links below.
» USPMGA Website