You couldn't ask for better semifinal U.S. Women's Amateur matchups than what we have today at Rhode Island Country Club.
The 10 a.m. match features defending champion Danielle Kang of Westlake Village, Calif., and 21-year-old Brooke Pancake of Chattanooga, Tenn. The 18-year-old Kang is looking to leave amateur golf with a bang. Playing her final amateur event before turning pro, Kang is looking to be the first repeat Women's Amateur champion since Kelli Kuehne in 1996. And there's good karma as well. When the Women's Amateur was last played at Rhode Island C.C. in 1987, Kay Cockerill successfully defended her title before turning pro that fall.
Hopefully Kang is 100 percent healthy for the match. She told the USGA's Rhonda Glenn on Friday that she injured a rib during her quarterfinal victory over Demi Frances Runas.
Meanwhile, Pancake has continued what has been a fabulous last 12 months in golf. The senior-to-be at the University of Alabama claimed her first collegiate title -- the Tar Heel Invitational, last fall -- and was named a first-team All-America by the Natoinal Golf Coaches Association. She could go down as one of the greatest female golfers to ever play for the Crimson Tide.
The second semifinal pits reigning NCAA Division I individual champion Austin Ernst, 19, of Seneca, S.C., against 17-year-old Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who earned low-amateur honors at last month's U.S. Women's Open. Jutanugarn is looking to make it two straight USGA titles for the family. Her 15-year-old sister, Ariya, won the U.S. Girls' Junior two weeks ago at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. Ariya was eliminated by Duke University All-American Lindy Duncan in the round of 32 and is now serving as Moriya's caddie.
Jutanugarn also is the highest remaining seed. She was the No. 3 qualifier out of stroke play, shooting 5-under 137. Ernst came in to match play as the 10th seed. She shot even-par 142 in qualifying.
Pancake was the No. 32 seed with a qualifying score of 2-over 144, while Kang was seeded 29th. She also shot 144.
As for the weather, we have another beautiful day in Barrington. We are expecting a storm late Sunday afternoon, but the heavy rains are not expected until the championship match is completed.