CHARLESTON, S.C. – On the strength of a 3-under-par 68, Yueer Cindy Feng of Orlando, Fla., holds the clubhouse lead with a two-day total of 2-under 140 following Tuesday’s morning wave of stroke play in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at the par-71 Country Club of Charleston.
Brooke Mackenzie Henderson, of Canada, and Kotone Hori, of Japan, sit one stroke behind Feng at 1-under 141, followed by Kelly Shon, of Port Washington, N.Y., at even-par 142.
Feng’s scorecard featured three birdies and no bogeys, a score that was no doubt aided by the marked weather change from Monday to Tuesday. Monday’s 20-mph winds dissipated overnight, leaving the Seth Raynor-designed course receptive to lower scores and putting Feng’s mind at ease.
“The weather's a lot nicer, so that makes it easier,” said Feng, 17. “Yesterday my driving was really poor. I kept missing fairways 30 yards to the right, so that always makes it hard on the second shot. Today was more of trying to make birdies instead of trying to save (par) all the time."
Feng’s summer season has included making the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open, a runner-up finish at the North & South Women’s Amateur and a quarterfinal berth at the U.S. Girls’ Junior. She next heads to Rancho Mirage, Calif., and the famed Mission Hills Country Club, where she will attempt to qualify for the LPGA Tour as an amateur in late August. Despite the grueling itinerary, Feng thinks that she’s playing some of her best golf.
“It's like I'm getting in a rhythm on the road,” said Feng. “My shots are going the way I want them to.”
This trip to Charleston marks the first visit to the United States for Hori, who earned an exemption by finishing among the top eight individuals at the 2012 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey. The 17-year-old high school senior has adapted well to this American golf course, thanks in part to her caddie, Donavon Schmidt.
“When I had a mistake, he said, it’s OK, it’s going to be fine. That helped a lot,” said Hori through an interpreter. “Because I had a good caddie, I read well on the putting lines.”
Hori felt comfortable on the course’s wide fairways, which certainly showed on her scorecard. Five birdies to only two bogeys on Tuesday paved Hori’s road to match play. She will attempt to qualify for the LPGA of Japan Tour after her high school graduation.
Henderson’s 1-under 70 came courtesy of four birdies and three bogeys. The 15-year-old, who recently won her home country’s Women’s Amateur, is attempting to become just the eighth player to win both championships, joining an illustrious list that includes Glenna Collett Vare and Marlene Stewart Streit.
“It was a bit of an up-and-down day,” said Henderson, who tied for 59th at the U.S. Women’s Open in June. “I hit the ball well, just missed a few short putts. Hopefully I can practice that and get them tomorrow.”
Casie Cathrea carded the best comeback thus far in the championship. After a disappointing 6-over 77 on Monday afternoon, the 17-year-old from Livermore, Calif., jumped up the leader board with a 4-under 67 on Tuesday morning, highlighted by an eagle 2 on the second hole, for a two-day total of 2-over 144.
Joining Cathrea with a 67 was Cyna Marie Rodriguez, 21, of the Philippines. That score ties them with 12 other players for the third-lowest 18-hole score in championship history, most recently from Casey Grice and Moriya Jutanugarn at Rhode Island Country Club in 2011.
Dawn Woodard, of Greer, S.C., stumbled to a 6-over 77 and a two-day total of 7-over 149. At 38, Woodard is the lone mid-amateur in the field to advance to the championship via sectional qualifying.
Five-time USGA champion Ellen Port returned a 5-over 76 for a two-day total of 12-over 154.
Seventy-eight players remain on the course for the afternoon round, including first-round leader Allisen Corpuz, four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi and 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Emily Tubert.
Christina Lance is the assistant manager of communications for the USGA. Email her at email@example.com.