It was a day of convincing victories by some of the field's most accomplished players at the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort’s Pacific Dunes course. Medalists Athena Yang and Kendall Griffin, along with four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi and her partner Dawn Woodard, were among 16 victorious sides.
Yang and Griffin built a 4-up lead through eight holes against former James Madison University teammates Carol Robertson, of Blacksburg, Va., and Corrie Myers of Palm Coast, Fla., and lost only one hole en route to a 5-and-4 victory.
“[Yang] definitely picked us up, and, I think, carried the team,” said Griffin, 16, of Sebring, Fla., who has verbally committed to attend Louisiana State University. “But she’d never say that because she’s too sweet – even though that’s the truth.”
“If I was being really critical, I think my approach shots struggled the most, so I didn’t have many birdie looks today,” said Yang, 17, of Winter Haven, Fla. “Tomorrow we want to be more aggressive.”
Hannah O’Sullivan celebrated her 17th birthday in style, partnering with Robynn Ree to earn a 10-and-8 victory over Lynn Thompson and Janie Klare, who survived a 3-for-2 playoff to make the match-play field on Sunday evening. This was the first 10-and-8 result, with a side winning every hole in the match, posted in an 18-hole match at a USGA championship since 1955. Charles W. Thurn defeated Robert Lichtenwalter by that margin in the fourth round of the U.S. Amateur Public Links that year. Incredibly, it also happened twice at the U.S. Girls' Junior that same year at Florence (S.C.) Country Club.
“I’ve always dreamed of it [a 10-and-8 victory], so this is a good birthday present,” said O’Sullivan, of Chandler, Ariz., who will join Ree, of Redondo Beach, Calif., at the University of Southern California in 2016. “We were in the zone and tried to use today to prepare us for, hopefully, the next couple matches.”
Next up for medalists Yang and Griffin are Maria Fassi and Maria Balcazar, of Mexico, who are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, by the Mexican Golf Federation. Fassi and Balcazar, who advanced with a 3-and-2 win over Olivia Herrick and Samantha Sommers, will be high school seniors this fall, and Fassi has verbally committed to the University of Arkansas.
Stasi and Woodard, one of two remaining sides of mid-amateur age and the only lower-seeded team to win its match, defeated Patricia Wong and Katherine Muzi, 4 and 3. The duo won four holes in an early five-hole stretch, then halved seven consecutive holes to close out the match on No. 15. Stasi, who reached the par-5 fourth hole in two, made an 8-footer for eagle to give them a lead they would not relinquish.
“We’re just trying to keep it simple, to have as many holes as possible with two putts at it for birdie,” said Stasi, 36, of Oakland Park, Fla. “It really depends on the wind; you’ve got to respect the course in that regard.”
Woodard, 40, of Greer, S.C., added: “I think we are getting a little more comfortable with the golf course itself.”
Also advancing are Californians Kathleen Scavo, of Benicia, and Lucy Li, of Redwood City, who never trailed in their 5-and-4 win over Eden Anderson and Shannon Wolfe.
“Today it seemed that when one of us hit a bad shot, the other hit a good shot, so that was good,” said Scavo.
Scavo, 17, also noted the maturity of her 12-year-old partner, adding: “If you’re a good golfer, it doesn’t matter what age you are.”
Both Scavo and Li qualified for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, where Li gained national notoriety as the youngest qualifier in the championship’s history at 11 years, 8 months, 19 days. Li is also the youngest player in this inaugural championship.
Katie Miller and 2003 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Amber Marsh Elliott made it to the Round of 16, defeating 2010 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Mina Hardin and Caryn Wilson, 3 and 2. Only one match went past the 17th hole, with Madelein Herr and Brynn Walker eliminating Jennifer Kupcho and Gillian Vance in 20 holes.
The 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by five rounds of match play. The championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final Wednesday, May 13, which will air live on Fox Sports 1. This championship is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Vanessa Zink is an assistant manager of championship communications for the USGA. Email her at email@example.com.