Flat screen televisions replayed the final match of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship while friends, family, teammates and members of the Austin golfing community watched Kristen Gillman win the final match and claim the title. The occasion occurred Sunday night at Spanish Oaks Country Club as friends, led by Jim Lay, gathered in honor of Kristen Gillman to celebrate her 2014 golfing accomplishments. Lay said “I felt like Austin needed to acknowledge Kristen’s tremendous accomplishments over the past year and I am pleased to have the opportunity to arrange this occasion”.
Daniel Porter, who is the primary investor in Spanish Oaks, said he was delighted to be able to provide the venue for the celebration and had fun visiting with all the folks that participated in the event. Shown here with Lisa Allen and his wife, they enjoyed visiting about golf and mutual friends in Corpus Christi. Porter, who was an accomplished amateur golfer in earlier years and a former winner of the Harvey Penick Invitational, said he doesn’t play as much golf as he used to but still follows amateur golf and does what he can to support it.
Nub Donaldson, a long time supporter of amateur and junior golf in Austin and a USGA rules official, had the opportunity to recount Gillman’s achievements in 2014.
He did an excellent job of relaying information about her season and how difficult it is to win a USGA title. Beside winning the U.S. Amateur, numerous high school and junior tournaments, Gillman won the 2014 PGA Junior Championship by 11 shots and set a new scoring record for the event.
Gillman is currently ranked the second best amateur in the Polo Rankings and 12th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Gillman, along with Tom Kite, are the only two Austin golfers have won USGA championships. Kite won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1992.
Gillman posed for a photo with Eric Henson, golf coach at Lake Travis High School where Gillman is a sophomore on the girls golf team. Henson, who played 0n the 2014 Hannon Cup and Rudy’s Cup teams, is an excellent player himself and was able to provide some perspective on Gillman’s season and her character in general. His description reaffirmed how level headed Gillman is and credited her mental toughness as one of her primary strengths.
When she was asked how she defined mental toughness Gillman said “I just don’t get to excited about things and keep doing my best regardless of whether things are going good or bad.”
The mood was festive and it was obvious that her teammates and other junior golfers from the Austin area were enjoying the occasion and were supportive of each others efforts. One funny moment occurred when Gillman was seated at a table and a cake with lighted candles was brought out. Courtney Gaskamp, on the right in this picture, was surprised and delighted when she was presented the cake for her 16th birthday. She had assumed it was for Gillman as part of the evening’s celebration. Gillman, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur at age 16, has now turned 17.
As an example of the support for junior golfers that Austin provides, Randy Reynolds brought Franco Melhado to the occasion so he could experience another aspect of the Austin golfing community. Reynolds has introduced Franco to the game of golf and takes him to practice and play on a regular basis. Franco won his first tournament this season. Way to go Franco.
Reynolds is to be congratulated on his support of amateur golf in Austin. He along with Steve Paterson, Robert Evans, Vince Brunsen, and Gene Black among others, created Austin Amateur Golf and the Austin side of the Rudy’s I-35 Cup.
Congratulations to Kristen Gillman, all her friends and family and supporters of amateur golf in Austin.