Seven-time USGA champ Ellen Port makes history by winning men’s senior event in St. Louis

Three years ago, Ellen Port marked Curtis Cup week by traveling to the matches in Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, New York, along with several other players and captains. They cheered, told stories and even played a little golf. Four years before that, she was captaining the American squad in her hometown of St. Louis. That team, which included current LPGA players like Mariah Stackhouse and Emma Talley, marched to victory under Port.

The 59-year-old tends to have that inspiring effect.

But as eight of America’s best female amateurs are overseas at Conwy Golf Club in Wales this week, the former captain (and two-time Curtis Cupper herself) remained at home in St. Louis doing big things of her own. On Wednesday, Port became the first woman to win the Metropolitan Senior Amateur Championship, a two-day senior men’s championship played at Sunset Country Club.

“That’s a beautiful trophy, and like I said in my speech, that trophy doesn’t know if it’s a man or a woman holding it, it just knows it’s someone who loves golf,” Port told the Met Golf Association.

Port, a seven-time USGA individual champion, is a member at Sunset and acknowledged to the Met Golf Association after the round that sometimes that kind of familiarity can present an obstacle. Port certainly didn’t overthink it, and the way in which she won is particularly impressive.

She was even par after the first of two rounds and trailed by five. A bogey-free, 5-under 67 on the final day put her in a playoff with Joe Malench. The pair played four extra holes – Nos. 10, 13, 14 and 15 – and each parred all four. On the par-3 15th, Port poured in a 20-foot birdie putt from above the hole.

“We went quite a few holes and I knew one of us was going to make a putt, and I was really tickled to make that right to left breaker on 15,” she said.

According to the Met Golf Association, Port’s 5-under total was the third-lowest total score in tournament history. She also tied for the championship lead in birdies with nine.

Earlier this summer, Port acquired quite a bit of national attention when she made a run at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open title. Through two rounds, she was tied for third and only three shots behind eventual champion Annika Sorenstam.

Port, who made match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2018 when she was 56, ultimately finished T20 at the Senior Women’s Open (tied for low-amateur honors with Martha Leach). She got emotional mid-tournament talking about contending in that championship.

“Yeah, I am shocked, to be honest with you, that I stayed in the present as much as I did and kept things simple,” she said of contending early. “I have a lot of thoughts go through my mind normally in a given hour, so I just tried to really – I trained and I trusted, and that’s really the two Ts I’ll put on my golf ball.

“I’ve trained the best I could at this juncture, and now it’s time to trust it.”

There was plenty to trust at Sunset.

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