Thursday, August 6, 2009

U.S. Women's Amateur Thursday: From 32 to 8

With matches in the morning to cull the field in the U.S. Women's Amateur from 32 to 16 and in the afternoon to narrow it down to 8, momentum is key. And right now nobody has more than Jennifer Johnson, who didn't lose a single hole in her 7 & 6 victory over Callie Neilsen yesterday, only lost 3 in her 3 & 2 victory over Amelia Lewis this morning, and has only lost 3 so far as she's built up a 3-up lead on Sydnee Michaels through 13 holes this afternoon. What makes her run so impressive is that Michaels herself had only lost 3 holes in her 1st 2 matches, too. A trip to the quarterfinals wouldn't be a bad birthday gift for the now-18-year-old Californian to give herself.

But the mo can go as easily as it can come. Maude-Aimee Leblanc didn't lose a single hole to Kimberly Kim, only lost 2 to Stacey Keating, and built up a 2-up lead on Candace Schepperle through 4 holes. But Schepperle has won 3 of the last 6 holes, including the last 2 in a row, to take a 1-up lead into the 11th hole. Resilience matters in match play, too.

Alexis Thompson has shown a little of both already this week. She lost the 1st hole in both her 1st 2 matches, but has only lost 5 others in her 7 & 6 win over Sun Gyoung Park of Korea, 2 & 1 win over Jodi Ewart of England, and 4-up lead through 11 on Cyna Marie Rodriguez of the Philippines. If she keeps it up, she'll likely face another international player, Han Jungeun of Korea, who's been playing some impressive golf of her own, winning 1-up nailbiters against Kate Ackerson and Victoria Tanco before taking a 4-up lead through 11 on Lindy Duncan.

Speaking of impressive golf, the other bracket features some big-name players playing up to their billing. WAPL champion Jennifer Song beat Lizette Salas 4 & 2 after beating Megan McChrystal 3 & 1; she now holds a 1-up lead on Cydney Clanton in the toughest match she's played yet. Jessica Korda didn't lose a hole to Aimee Neff in the 2nd round after struggling past Sara Grantham in the 1st with a stirring eagle on the 16th hole; she now holds a 1-up lead through 11 on Erynne Lee, who beat Natalie Sheary to get there. Stephanie Kono is 2-up through 9 on Allie White, after dominating Alexandra Stewart in the 1st round and holding off a comeback by Stephanie Sherlock in the 2nd. And Tiffany Lua has a chance to beat her 2nd Shin of the tournament; having beaten Jenny 4 & 3 in the 1st round, she's all square with Michelle through 11.

So that's where things stand right now. I'm off to pick up the girls from day care and will update when we get back.

[Update 1 (8:04 pm): No big changes down the stretch. Johnson held on to win 3 & 2 over Michaels; she'll face Schepperle, who only lost 1 hole to Leblanc down the stretch on the way to her own 3 & 2 win. The winner of that match will face off against the winner of the Thompson-Jungeun match (the former held on for a 2 & 1 win against a Rodriguez comeback, while the latter routed Duncan 5 & 4). In the other bracket, it'll be the winner of the Korda (2 & 1 over Lee) vs. Lua (1-up over Shin) match against the winner of the Kono (2-up over White) vs. Song (2 & 1 over Clanton) match

[Update 2 (8:24 pm): For more on the matches, check out the USGA stories by David Shefter, Stuart Hall, and Beth Murrison, the USGA blog (almost exclusively Shefter), Golfweek stories by Beth Ann Baldry, Asher Wildman, and Ray McCarthy, and the Golfweek blog (almost exclusively Baldry).]

1 comment:

courtgolf said...

I'm going to be pulling for a Thompson v Korda final. Alexis' brother is a friend of the show, and Korda's father is Petr Korda, a former great in the world of men's professional tennis.

Now if Ivan Lendl's daughter could raise her level a little more. :-)