Allison Paik and Anne Walsh started playing together with the US Kids Golf program. The incoming college freshmen will be teammates on the women’s program at Columbia University.
But on Friday afternoon, the 18-year-old Paik took control early in their championship match of the 117th edition of the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur, carding five birdies on the front nine on the way to a 7 and 6 victory over Walsh at Essex County Club in Manchester.
Closing out her victory on the 12th hole with a par putt, Paik recorded the largest margin of victory in the championship match in the past decade. She did not play past the 15th hole in any of her four matches.
“I think that the first four holes on the course really fit my eye,” said Paik, a Sharon resident who prepped at the Wheeler School in Providence. “And I would say that the greens especially were a good fit for me. They weren’t too quick, so I could really attack all of my putts . . . I think getting off to a fast start is really important.”
In the morning semifinals, Paik (Ledgemont CC) defeated Mary Mulcahy (Hatherly CC), 4 and 3, while Walsh (The Country Club), playing in her second consecutive final, needed 21 holes to oust Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook CC).
“[Thursday] was a really long day [a 20-hole quarterfinal], and then this morning,” said Walsh, a Jamaica Plain resident who won the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and was runner-up in the Mass Junior Am this year. “That was a long match and it was pretty tight coming in, so I am very tired. I think that’s certainly a part of that I just wasn’t very accurate.
“She was putting lights out. I wasn’t really setting myself up for birdies.”
Paik began her round with a birdie on the par 5 first hole, then followed with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 for a 3-up lead.
On the par 3 seventh, Paik landed her tee shot 12 feet from the pin and she rolled in a putt for birdie. Then on the 389-yard ninth, she reached the green in two and calmly sank a 30-foot birdie putt to take a commanding 5-up lead heading onto the back nine.
“Going into today, we were hoping for an all-Columbia final and we got it,” said Paik. “. . . We’re really good friends, and I’m really happy to be going to Columbia with her.”
In the President’s Cup final, 15-year-old Alexandra Pool (Pine Brook CC) edged Wellesley’s Pam Kuong (Charles River CC), MassGolf’s reigning women’s player of the year, 2 and 1.
Craig Larson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org