Few friends at the age of 10 stay friends past high school. Even fewer play on the same collegiate golf team.
But playing together in the Minnesota Women’s State Amateur? That’s exactly what Taylor Ledwein and Megan Welch accomplished this past summer.
Competing in their third and fourth State Amateurs respectively, Welch and Ledwein continued their history of strong performances in the tournament, held this year from July 25-27.
Ledwein finished tied for ninth with a three-round cumulative score of 227, which continues her streak of top-10 finishes since she began playing in the tournament in 2017.
Welch, entering her junior season at Bradley, shot a 242 over three rounds and finished tied for 26th. The State Amateur was a familiar experience for Welch too, as she competed in 2019 and finished ninth in 2018.
Although the pair did not golf often in Bradley uniforms this year, Ledwein and Welch found alternative ways to compete over the summer. Both played in the Minnesota Golf Association’s Women’s Match Play and won the MGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship as teammates.
The Minnesota Women’s Amateur champion in 2018, Ledwein accomplished her goal of finishing in the top 10, thanks to a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine of her third round.
“I really struggled with my irons the whole week, so in the back nine, I just played for the center of the green, and I was putting decently well so I knew I could make a couple strokes back,” Ledwein said.
Ledwein has returned to the Braves for a fifth year, maintaining her eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the spring golf season. Her many years of playing tournaments allowed her to resume playing in summer tournaments rather easily.
Welch added that the three months from March to June were the longest she had gone without competing in a tournament since she was 8 years old.
“I think I was able to just jump back into tournament mode just because a lot of us have been doing it for so long that it’s pretty easy to get back into that mode,” Ledwein said.
It was not the duo’s first time golfing against each other either, since Ledwein and Welch’s high schools are separated by only 22 miles. However, Welch noted that there is no rivalry between the two.
“We’re always representing Bradley, so I’m always rooting for her to do her best,” Welch said. “I always seem to play super well when I’m with her. Being able to play tournaments with her has meant a lot to me over the last couple of years.”
The Bradley women’s golf team is still “controlling the controllables,” in Welch’s words, amidst a pandemic. Without a fall season, the Braves conduct two workouts and three practices during the week, followed by playing a round on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ledwein and Welch will take to the course again this fall, hoping to qualify for the USGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship.