Notebook: Duncan (71-73) Unfazed In Second Pro Start

Before fog suspended play for the day late Friday, Sebonack Golf Club was playing a little more than a stroke higher than Thursday's first round. (USGA/Darren Carroll)
By David Shefter and Dave Shedloski
June 28, 2013

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Wearing a Curtis Cup hat and Duke University golf shirt, Lindy Duncan easily could have been mistaken for one of the 19 amateurs in the field Friday at the U.S. Women’s Open.

What’s more, her mom, Debbie Beclatt, is carrying her Duke golf bag at Sebonack Golf Club.

“I don’t really have much else,” said Duncan, who turned pro in June after concluding her four-year career at Duke, where she was a four-time first-team All-American (2010-2013). “All my Duke stuff, all my [2012] Curtis Cup stuff … I am just trying to mix my wardrobe.”

Between graduation and jumping into the professional ranks, Duncan hasn’t had time to line up financial backers. And as an alternate from the West Palm Beach, Fla., sectional, Duncan only recently received word from the USGA that she was in the field.

Two weeks ago, Duncan made her professional debut in Decatur, Ill., in the Symetra Tour’s Decatur-Forsyth Classic, shooting 67-72-72 to collect $1,725. After rounds of 71-73 at Sebonack, the 22-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has a chance for a much larger payday.

“This week has been pretty normal even though it’s the U.S. [Women’s] Open in the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in,” said Duncan, who made the cut at The Broadmoor in 2011. “It’s golf and you’re playing the course, and this is one beast of a course. These greens are just crazy. I am just real excited to make the cut.”

Duncan, the runner-up to Annie Park at the 2013 NCAA Women’s Championship, said playing the Symetra event two weeks ago prepared her for her second pro event. The mindset from amateur to the pay-for-play ranks changes dramatically, although the game remains the same.

Her past Women’s Open – this is her third – and USGA championship experiences are also helpful. Duncan knows when you come to a USGA competition, conditions are going to be challenging.

“I was just patient and played my game,” she said. “I wasn’t surprised that much. I’ve been playing well.”

Saying Goodbye?
Juli Inkster, playing in a record 34th championship, couldn’t sustain the momentum from her even-par 72 in the first round – fueled by a closing eagle.

The two-time winner, 53 years old, struggled to a 79 and was likely to miss the cut with a 7-over 151 total. Inkster, who has played in half of the 68 U.S. Women’s Opens, was in the field this year thanks to a special exemption from the USGA. It could be her last appearance in the championship she won in 1999 and 2002.

Other U.S. Women’s Open champions who appeared to be on their way to missing the cut include 1998 champion Se Ri Pak (12-over with three holes to play), 2009 champion Eun-Hee Ji (7-over with one hole to play), and 2005 champion Birdie Kim (77-78-155).

The projected cut at the time play was suspended was 6 over par, with 71 players at that number or better. The low 60 and ties advance to the final two rounds.

Shadoff in strong debut
Jodi Ewart Shadoff, a member of the 2008 Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup Team, has made a strong showing so far in her U.S. Women’s Open debut.

Ewart Shadoff, 25, a native of North Yorkshire, England, stood two under par through 15 holes when play was suspended at 6:40 p.m. EDT due to heavy fog.

“I did good. Mid‑round right now, but, yeah, it's going well, and I'm staying patient,” said Ewart Shadoff, who ranks second in the field in greens in regulation, hitting 27 of the 33 she’d played. “I've had a lot of good shots today, so it's good coming into the weekend.”

A two-time All-American for the University of New Mexico and a two-time English Amateur champion, Ewert had opened with a 2-under 70 on Thursday. She was tied for third place with Lizette Salas, five behind Inbee Park when she left Sebonack Friday evening.

“Overall the course was playing a lot harder,” she said. “But I just told myself par is good on every hole, so stay patient, and that's what I was playing for really.”

Sebonack shows her teeth
The combination of gusting winds and more challenging hole locations (14 of the 18 were six paces or fewer from the edges of the greens) made Sebonack a stiffer examination in the second round.

The field was averaging 76.557 on the par-72 layout when play was suspended Friday evening, compared to 75.319 on Thursday. Seven players had posted rounds under par, led by the 4-under 68s from Inbee Park and Angela Stanford, compared to 28 players who posted a red number in the opening round. Four other players had sub-par rounds in the works on Friday but had not completed 18 holes.

The easiest hole was the par-5 18th, the only hole in which the field averaged under par (4.985). The most difficult for the second straight day was the par-4 11th, which played to 4.561 average.

“This is kind of how this golf course should be played,” said Paula Creamer, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open winner. “Windy and kind of gritty and all that kind of stuff. Playing‑wise yesterday was kind of a calmer day and lower numbers, but it’s hard. There are a lot of numbers, a lot of thinking, lots of shots out there. I’m exhausted.”

Heo withdraws
Yoonkyung Heo, of Korea, 22, who opened with a 79 in her U.S. Women’s Open debut, withdrew on Friday due to a back injury.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA and Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.

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