(Image courtesy scga.org, tournament information courtesy usga.org)
Two Buckeyes, well three, were in Kingston Springs, TN for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. The participants were Jaclyn Lee and Adeena Shears. Coach Therese Hession lent support as Jaclyn’s caddy.
Meanwhile in Hungary, Sofia Seldemirova participated in the Hungarian Amateur Championship, conducted by the Hungarian Golf Association.
U.S. Women’s Amateur
The way this works is the golfers compete in 36 holes of stroke play. The low 64 scores advance to the match play stage of the championship.
Stroke Play Qualifier
Jaclyn Lee had no problem qualifying for match play. Her rounds of 68-68-136 (-6) placed her as a #4 seed in the event.
Adeena Shear’s path was a bit more adventuresome. After the 36 holes of stroke play, 63 players were at +2 to par or better, so one more spot to fill. Adeena was in a group of nine golfers at +3 that had to compete in a playoff for the lone remaining slot.
The first playoff hole was the 148 yard par-3 10th. All nine players parred it, so the herd migrated to the 496 yard par-5 11th hole. Adeena and Julia Potter-Bobb were the only two to birdie the hole, so the herd was substantially thinned out at that point, with Adeena and Julia now the only contenders. They both parred the par-4 18th. Returning back to #10, Adeena birdied the hole to claim the last match play spot.
I think this was a nice accomplishment for Adeena. First, she played well enough in the stroke play portion to just be able to get into a playoff to extend her chances of going to match play. The 9-for-1 playoff was really a tournament within a tournament. Adeena was in match-play “mode” at that point.
On to the match play portion…
Adeena’s 64th spot put her against the #1 seed, Lucy Li. If you follow amateur golf, Miss Li is a young golf phenomenon. Adeena had her work cut out for her.
Adeena parred the first hole to take the 1-up lead! (Always good to get an early lead). Lucy birdied the next hole to square the match, and it was AS (all square) through six holes.
Things took a turn, badly, for Adeena on the 7th hole. Over the next five holes, Lucy played them in -3 to take a commanding 4-up lead with seven to play. During this stretch, Adeena played okay (+2), but if your opponent is throwing birdies at you, things get a bit challenging.
The next three holes (#12-#14) were halved and Lucy won the 15th hole to close out the match.
… in the round of 64, Jaclyn faced Dublin, OH native Kylie Raines and squeaked out a 1-up win. This was a nice come-from-behind win for Jaclyn. She was 2-down with 4 to play. Jaclyn won three of the next four holes, including #18 to win the match. Whew!
In the round of 32, Jaclyn faced #29 seed Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand. This was a bit of an easier match for Jaclyn. She finished her front nine strong with birdies on #8 and #8 to take a 3-up lead at the turn.
These birdies were the first of five consecutive birdies (always nice to have your coach on your bag) to push her to a 5-up lead with six hole to play. Both players matched scores on holes #13-#14 to give Jaclyn the win, 5&4.
In the round of 16, Jaclyn played Elizabeth Wang. Jaclyn was 2-up at the turn, and actually 2-up through 13 holes. Elizabeth birdied #14 to pull within 1-down, then birdied the 18th hole to draw all square.
On to extra holes. Both players parred #1, then Jaclyn birdied the 418 yard par-4 2nd hole to win the match, 1-up.
In the quarterfinals (elite eight), all good things came to an end as she played Kaylee Benton. The match was AS at the turn, then things went wrong for Jaclyn. After Kaylee nearly jarred her tee shot on the par-3 10th, Jaclyn made a road-map putt to halve the hole. Kaylee won three of the next four holes to go 3-up with four to play. The next two holes were halved, giving Kaylee the match.
Not being familiar with the nuances of Jaclyn’s game, it looked lie she didn’t have her “A game” this match. On the front nine, the two holes she won, she won by birdie. The two holes she lost, she bogeyed them. It looked like, in the decisive stretch of holes #10 – #12, Jaclyn’s ‘big miss’ was to the right. Her second shot on the par-5 11th was well right of where it should have been and her tee shot on #12 was in right rough.
Regardless, this was a good showing for Adeena and Jaclyn. Coach Hession acquitted herself well on Jaclyn’s bag. So, all in all, a pretty good week.
Hungarian Amateur Open Championship
Let’s head to another national amateur open championship. Sofia Seldemirov put together three well played rounds to win the Women’s Division. My Magyar is a bit rusty, but here goes…
Sofia’s rounds of 71-73-68-212 (-4) were an impressive display of golf. Sofia absolutely dominated this event; her total score was the only score under par and she won by 14 strokes.
To be honest, the level of play is probably not what Jaclyn and Adeena faced, but that’s not the point. Sofia shot two rounds of sub-par golf. Skill set of opponents is irrelevant. She did the shot making and game management to score the numbers she did.
Her final round of 68 (-4) is probably better than you think. At that point, Sofia had a 7 stroke lead and unless she managed to DQ herself, there was no way she was going to lose this championship. Rather than “coasting” in the final round, she shot the tournament low round. Because she could…
Congratulations to Sofia Seldemirov (center, below) for winning a national championship. Well done. Well played with the visor, too.
Will Grimmer, Daniel Wetterich and Caleb Ramirez currently have their rounds underway in the opening round of U.S. Amateur on the Monterrey Peninsula.