I cannot put into words, the surprise that I felt. I had just jumped off a flight to Madrid, ran three terminals, jumped on the metro, negotiated three trunks and two changes, to reach Atocha Station. For students of history, Atocha Station was bombed by terrorists in 2004, om March 11th. 193 were killed and over 2000 were injured. History stops our quickest steps, and compels us to pause and consider all that caused the moment. I know that’s a heavy introduction to a celebratory piece, but I’m glad that I have your attention.

I was rushing not just to catch that train south to Sevilla, but also to settle in and find out how a singular golf match had progressed. I’m getting ahead of things, so I’ll slow down, settle in to my seat on Spain’s RENFE AVE, and catch my breath.

A different sort of history took place on Saturday, June 29th, 2024, in the lovely Irish city of Dublin. At Portmarnock Golf Club, Melanie Green of Medina, New York, was celebrated as the 122nd Amateur Champion of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. There’s a lot of gravitas in that announcement, and it asks that we frame the moment in silver, fire, sweat, and tears. Come along for the journey. The ticket is free of charge.


The Amateur Championship was first contested among women in 1893. It was held at the Lytham and St. Anne’s golf club, in  England. Later, the club would be designated a Royal club, and would henceforth be known as Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s golf club. It has hosted many major events, both amateur and professional, since that auspicious moment in tournament golf. The winner that year was Lady Margaret Scott, and she was quite skilled in the game. She would repeat twice, at Littleston in 1894, and Royal Portrush, in 1895, before giving up her title to Miss A Pascoe at Royal Liverpoll, in 1896.

Above, let it be known that my math could be a bit off. The 100th playing of the championship should have taken place in 1992, but four years were abated for World War 1, plus another for a railway strike in 1920. Six more years were lost to World War II, so the centenary event was not played until 2002, at Ashburnham, where Miss R Hudson triumphed. Despite the global pandemis of 2020 to 2022, the band and the tournament played on. This brings us to the current day, and Miss M Green’s stature as the 122nd Amateur champion.

Along the way, in addtion to the Ladies, the first married champion (Mrs. A M Kennion) was feted in 1906 at Burnham, and the Visctontess de Saint Sauveur triumphed in 1950 (Royal County Down.) Great champions have won the title over the years. The greatest female amateur of them all, Miss Joyce Wethered (aka Lady Heathcoat Amory) won on four occasions (1922, 1924, 1925, 1929) after losing in the championship match in 1921. If one considers the sites of her four triumphs, one could not ask for a more-impregnable quadrilateral: Prince’s, Royal Portrush, (not yet Royal) Troon, and St. Andrews.

In addtion to Wethered, Babe Didrickson Zaharias won in 1947 at Gullane, and Louise Suggs the following year, at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s. Carole Semple (the great American amateur) collected the 1974 trophy in Wales, while her great Rival, Anne Quast Sander, emerged with the silve in 1980, at Woodhall Spa.

Current professional players Carlota Ciganda (2007), Anna Nordqvist (2008), Azahara Munyoz (2009), Stephanie Meadow (2012), Georgia Hall (2013), Emily Pedersen (2014), Celine Boutier (2015), and Leona Maguire (2017) have their names eternally etched into immortality on the tournament silver. No matter what else the future holds for Melanie Green, she has joined this intimate club.


Just prior to her trip to Ireland, Melanie Green visited the Taylor Made fitting facility (aka The Kingdom) at Reynolds Lake Oconee, in Georgia. She fine-tuned her equipment there, in preparation for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever tweeks were made, they were the ones to properly aid her quest for glory.


As a native of Medina, New York, Melanie Green was fortunate to grow up on the Shelridge golf course. It’s a tricky little place, with an oddly-configured layout and diabolical greens. Truth be told, Melanie Green would have flourished anywhere, but Shelridge offered her the support of an extended family. Her current home course is Tampa Palms, the new home course for the University of South Florida, where she matriculated. For years, the on-site course known as The Claw was home to the university team. In 2023, The Claw was repurposed into other university plans.

At both The Claw and Tampa Palms, not to mention Shelridge, Melanie Green hit thousands of golf shots to further her goal of playing professional golf. She graduated from the Univestiy of South Florida in May, but remained an amateur to play one last summer of competitive amateur golf. It was a wise choice. Our BuffaloGolfer interview with her took place just after the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, so let’s learn about that event.


Given her prowess over the previous decade, it was no surprise that Melanie Green received an invitation to compete in the ANWI. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion by any stretch, as the mechanics of invitationals are both private and unpredictable. Nevertheless, during the holiday season of December, an envelope did arrive at her address, containing a formal request for her presence for a few days in April.

At the tournament, Green fought bravely on day two, and nearly made the 36-hole cut. She was able to play the Augusta National course in Saturday’s practice round, but did not qualify for the final 18 tournament holes, played at the host of The Masters, that Sunday. Tears shed in Georgia in April, brought forth blooms in Ireland in June.

At Portmarnock, the qualifying medal was won by Miss Lottie Woad at nine strokes under par. Woad was the winner in that April soiree in Augusta, and her formidable presence hung over the 2024 Amateur championship like an enormous umbrella. Would she add a second, major title to her credenza? Woad won the medal by five over Meja Ortengren of Sweden. They were the only two golfers under par for the 36 holes of medal play. Eleven behind Woad, in a tie for 12th qualifying, was Green. As they say, the story is never written on day one.

Woad went on to win her first two matches, but lost in round three to Marie Eline Madsen of Denmark. Ortengran also went home in round three, at the hands of Ireland’s Anna Foster. Melanie Green won by 5 & 3 in her first match, against Victoria Kristense of Denmark.

Let’s pump the brakes for a match-play primer!

Match play is different from medal (stroke) play. In the latter, everyone competes against everyone else, and low score wins. In the former, competition is one v. one, and scoring is measured in holes won and lost, not strokes. My nine beats your twenty, but only gives me a one-hole advantange (and reveals that we are both terrible golfers!) The term dormie means that one player is the same number of holes up, as those that remain. If you are three up with three to play, you are dormie three. I still have a chance, but I need to win all that remain, to go to overtime. So, Melanie was dormie four against Kristensen, then won the 15th hole to go five up with three to play. Got it?

Back to the tears.

In round two, the vaunted American, Rachel Kuehn of Wake Forest, went down to defeat. Not so for Melanie Green, who won a second match by a large margin. She defeated Hsin Chun Liao of Chinese Taipei by 5 & 4, to move into round three. In that third match, Green took down Paula Martin Sampedro of Spain by 6 & 5. After three matches, Green had yet to play any of the closing holes in non-medal play. That can be both a blessing and a curse. When you win by big margins, you forget what the closing holes are about. When you are finally pushed to them in later matches, they may come back and bite you.

Green and Annabelle Pancake were the lone Americans left in the quartefinals. Pancake lost to Denmark’s Marie Ellen Madsen by 3 & 2, while Green was given every possible obstacle by Paula Schulz-Hanssen of Germany. The German champion had a three-hole advantage after five, but Green fought back and squared the match at the eighth green. No more than one hole separated them through the end, as Green won the 17th to square, then emerged triumphant with a par at the 20th.

Both Green and Marie Eline Madsen scored birdie at the opening hole of their semifinal match. Neither would make another until the 14th hole, as pars and bogeys exchanged holes. At 14, Madsen made birdie to square the match. At 15 and 16, Green countered with two birdies to take a two-up lead to the 17th. Her par against Madsen’s bogey meant that Green was through to the final by 3 & 1.

Lorna McClymont stood between Medina and immortality. The Scot had dispatched all comers over the previous five rounds, and was a formidable opponent for the young American. Once again, Green was down early, four holes back of the Scot through eight. She fought back unimaginably, playing par golf through the 14th green of the 36-hole match (yup, the finals are TWICE as long) to draw even. Four more pars coming home gave her a one-up lead at the break.

It was Green’s turn to go up early in round two. She stood three holes ahead of McClymont after 24 holes, but the Scot began to chip away at the lead. She finally squared the match with birdie at the 28th green, then added another at the 29th, to take a one-hole advantage. At the 30th hole, Green notched her first birdie of the afternoon session, to draw even. McClymont erred at the 31st with bogey, and Green came to the final tee with the most slim advantage. She played flawlessly, posting another birdie to win the match by two-up, and the week’s trophy.

All graphics are the property of, and originally found on, the @therandagolf instagram page, of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

Subscribe To BuffaloGolfer Weekly

If it's not your cup o' joe, you can unsubscribe later.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This