Until Monday, the 66 would have tied the 18-hole scoring record for the championship. But 19-year-old Rachel Rohanna of Waynesburg, Pa., broke the scoring mark with a 7-under 65 in the first round.
The 66 ties Lee with three other players for the second-low 18-hole score in the championship's 110-year history: Kellee Booth (1998), Natalie Gulbis (1999) and Amanda Blumenherst (2008).
Lee, who shot a first-round 72, opened with a bogey but reeled off seven birdies on the par-72, 6,559-yard Charlotte CC layout.
Throughout the whole round, I didn’t think I was at six under, said Lee. I just felt like I was making a lot of putts. It didn’t feel like I was shooting a really low number.
Solid putting and being comfortable on the Donald Ross design at Charlotte Country Club have been the keys for Lee.
I really like the course, said Lee. I’ve hit almost every single fairway and almost all the greens. It’s just a really nice course that suits me well. It’s not that tight and it’s pretty wide so you can hit it anywhere.
Lee, who will easily advance, is no stranger to match play at a U.S. Women’s Amateur. In 2008, at the age of 15, she lost to Blumenherst, the eventual champion, in the semifinals.
I’m usually weak with match play, but I’m ready for this week, said Lee, who lost in the first round at the Girls’ Junior last month at The Country Club of North Carolina in the Village of Pinehurst. I’m ready to win. I can’t wait for match play. It’s fun. It’s much better than stroke play.
Brooke Pancake, 20, of Chattanooga, Tenn., was three strokes behind Rohanna after a first-round 68 on Monday. An even-par 72 in the second round will allow Pancake to easily advance to match play.
I told my caddie before I teed off, it might not come as easily as it did yesterday, so make sure that I just stay patient, said Pancake, who is playing in her first USGA championship. My mindset was mainly just to have fun. I know I put myself in a good position for today and I was hitting the ball well, so I stayed confident in that.
Caroline Hedwall, 21, of Sweden, will also advance after rounds of 73-69. Hedwall, the 2010 NCAA Division I individual champion and 2010 Division I Player of the Year, recently earned low-amateur honors at the Women’s British Open, finishing tied for 27th.
Hedwall, a member of the Swedish squad that won the 2008 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, admitted she preferred the stroke-play format.
I used to like match play, but now I like stroke play better, said Hedwall, who is trying to become the fifth player to win both the NCAA Division I title and the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Now I can score low, while in match play, you never know what’s going to happen. The girl you play against can have a really good day and make a lot of birdies. But I like match play too.
Rohanna, who held a three-stroke lead after the first round, had an afternoon tee time Tuesday. After the conclusion of the second day of stroke play Tuesday, the 156-player U.S. Women’s Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play.
The first round of match play is scheduled for Wednesday, the second and third rounds will be played Thursday, the quarterfinal matches will be played Friday, the semifinal matches are on Saturday and the 36-hole championship final will be played Sunday.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Beth Murrison, USGA Manager of Championship Communications. For questions or comments, contact her email@example.com .