U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR
But co-medalist, No. 2 seed Ko ousted by Kono, 3 and 2 August 10, 2011 By Rhonda Glenn, USGA

USGA championship veteran and 2010 USA Curtis Cup participant Stephanie Kono ousted co-medalist Lydia Ko in Thursday's second round. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)

Barrington, R.I. – Defending champion Danielle Kang, 18, of Westlake Village, Calif., holed a 9-iron shot for an eagle to eliminate Emma Talley, 17, of Princeton, Ky., in the second round of match play Thursday of the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur at the 6,399-yard, par-71 Rhode Island Country Club.

Kang’s stellar shot on the 364-yard, par-4 14th hole ended the match, 6 and 4.

Stephanie Kono, 21, of Honolulu ended the hopes of another youngster, 14-year-old Lydia Ko of New Zealand, 3 and 2. Kono went 1 up at the third hole and used three birdies to steadily advance against Ko, who was co-medalist in stroke-play qualifying.

I knew she was going to hit the greens and get it close, so I had to play my own game, said Kono.

Although Ko lost, she liked the way she played in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur. I’m quite pleased and I had fun, said the 2011 New Zealand Amateur champion. I’m a bit disappointed today, but who wouldn’t be?  

Ko is the No. 1 woman in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, but Kono is seven years older and vastly more experienced. Kono was a member of the 2010 USA Curtis Cup Team and is playing in her 22nd USGA championship. She has never advanced beyond the quarterfinal round in the Women’s Amateur, but has been a semifinalist in the U.S. Girls’ Junior (2007) and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (2008).

Kang was five under par with the usual match-play concessions. She won the fourth, fifth and sixth holes with birdie putts ranging from 2 to 6 feet. She won the eighth hole with an 8-foot birdie putt and the 11th hole with another birdie before her spectacular shot on No. 14.

It was 120 yards, uphill, said Kang. I used a 9-iron, but I didn’t see it go in.

Kang, who won this championship in 2010 at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club, said she had never ended a match in such dramatic fashion.

Elyse Smidinger, 21, of Crofton, Md., was ousted by Brooke Pancake, 21, of Chattanooga, Tenn., 2 and 1. Smidinger had played the role of giant killer in the first round when she knocked off co-medalist Jihee Kim on Wednesday.

Pancake went 1-up at the 16th when she holed a 5-foot birdie putt. On the 17th, she hit a 9-iron approach shot to within 15 feet of the hole and made the birdie putt to win the match, 2 and 1.

I’m going to have to play better to keep going in these matches, said Pancake, whose friends call her by nicknames such as IHOP or Cakes.

Going into Thursday afternoon’s third round, Pancake is one of only three remaining players born before 1991. Most of these players are four or five years younger than I am, she said. I’m over there stretching a lot longer than they are.

In the third round, Pancake will face Nicole Morales, 15, of South Salem, N.Y. Kang goes against Korean-born Cindy Ha, 14, of Demarest, N.J.

Kono will play Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., a fellow teammate on the 2010 Curtis Cup Team and at UCLA. Lua, 20, has qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open three times and was a semifinalist in this championship in 2009.

The championship continues with the quarterfinal round on Friday and the semifinal round on Saturday. It will conclude with a scheduled 36-hole final on Sunday.

Barrington, R.I. – Results following Thursday’s second round of match play at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur at the 6,399-yard, par-71 Rhode Island Country Club: 

Round of 32 

Upper Bracket 

Brooke Pancake, Chattanooga, Tenn. (144) def. Elyse Smidinger, Crofton, Md. (149), 2 and 1

Nicole Morales, South Salem, N.Y. (142) def. Christine Wong, Canada (146), 3 and 1

Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash. (145) def. Tiffany Lim, San Jose, Calif. (147), 4 and 2

Annie Park, Levittown, N.Y. (141) def. Amy Meier, Rochester Hills, Mich. (143), 1 up

Danielle Kang, Westlake Village, Calif. (144) def. Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky. (138), 6 and 4

Cindy Ha, Demarest, N.J. (146) def. Jaye Marie Green, Boca Raton, Fla. (142), 4 and 2

Demi Frances Runas, Torrance, Calif. (144) def. Ket Preamchuen, Kennesaw, Ga. (148), 3 and 2

Lisa McCloskey, Montgomery, Texas (142) def. Julie Yang, Mesa, Ariz. (145), 1 up

Lower Bracket 

Stephanie Kono, Honolulu, Hawaii (144) def. Lydia Ko, New Zealand (136), 3 and 2

Tiffany Lua, Rowland Heights, Calif. (142) def. Mackenzie Brooke Henderson, Canada (146), 3 and 2

Lee Lopez, Whittier, Calif. (143) def. Stephanie Kim, Tempe, Ariz. (147), 2 and 1

Austin Ernst, Seneca, S.C. (142) def. Michelle Piyapattra, Corona, Calif. (143), 1 up

Moriya Jutanugarn, Thailand (137) def. Amy Anderson, Oxbow, N.D. (144), 1 up

Victoria Tanco, Bradenton, Fla. (142) def. Sarah Ababa, Philippines (146), 3 and 1

Casey Danielson, Osceola, Wis. (145) def. Gabriela Lopez, Mexico (148), 3 and 2

Lindy Duncan, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (145) def. Ariya Jutanugarn, Thailand (142), 2 and 1

Barrington, R.I. – Pairings for Thursday’s third round of match play at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur at the 6,399-yard, par-71 Rhode Island Country Club (All times EDT): 

Round of 16 

Upper Bracket 

1 p.m.                   Brooke Pancake, Chattanooga, Tenn. (144) vs. Nicole Morales, South Salem, N.Y. (142)

1:10 p.m.             Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash. (145) vs. Annie Park, Levittown, N.Y. (141)

1:20 p.m.             Danielle Kang, Westlake Village, Calif. (144) vs. Cindy Ha, Demarest, N.J. (146)

1:30 p.m.             Demi Frances Runas, Torrance, Calif. (144) vs. Lisa McCloskey, Montgomery, Texas (142)

Lower Bracket 

1:40 p.m.             Stephanie Kono, Honolulu, Hawaii (144) vs. Tiffany Lua, Rowland Heights, Calif. (142)

1:50 p.m.             Lee Lopez, Whittier, Calif. (143) vs. Austin Ernst, Seneca, S.C. (142)

2 p.m.                   Moriya Jutanugarn, Thailand (137) vs. Victoria Tanco, Bradenton, Fla. (142)

2:10 p.m.             Casey Danielson, Osceola, Wis. (145) vs. Lindy Duncan, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (145)

More from the USGA