U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Five Groupings to Watch May 16, 2016 | Far Hills, N.J. By David Shefter, USGA

Meghan Stasi (left) and Dawn Woodard hope to go past the quarterfinals in this year's U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Inaugurated last year at Bandon Dunes, 64 sides are set to compete in the 2nd U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which will be played on the Blue Course at first-time USGA championship host site Streamsong (Fla.) Resort.

One of the most popular formats played at golf courses nationwide, four-ball consists of two-person sides with each member of a side playing their own ball and the better score counting as the team’s score for the hole. Beginning on May 21, each side will play two rounds of stroke play on the Tom Doak-designed Streamsong Blue, with the low 32 sides advancing to match play, which begins May 23. Five rounds of match play will determine the champion, concluding with the semifinals and 18-hole championship match on May 25.

This competition gives players the rare opportunity to compete for a national championship in a team setting. Here are five notable groupings for the first two rounds of stroke play. (All times EDT)

Sierra Brooks and Kristen Gillman/Susan Curtin and Pamela Kuong
#1 Tee 10:48 a.m. May 21/#1 Tee 7:24 a.m. May 22

With neither side returning from last year’s final match, there will be two new teams in this year’s final. Both of these duos have the USGA championship chops to get there. Brooks, 17, of Sorrento, Fla., and Gillman, 17, of Austin, Texas, have already established themselves among the elite amateurs in women’s golf. Gillman, who has signed to play at the University of Alabama beginning in the fall, won the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y., and represented the USA in the 2014 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Japan. Brooks advanced to the championship match of last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur and has been selected to the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team that will face Great Britain and Ireland next month in the Republic of Ireland. Kuong, 55, of Wellesley, Mass., was the runner-up in last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. Curtin, 46, of Westwood, Mass., served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve from 1990-95, before either Brooks or Gillman were born.

Meghan Stasi and Dawn Woodard/Mary Janiga and Terese Romeo
#1 Tee 12:12 p.m. May 21/#1 Tee 8:48 a.m. May 22

Four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and 2008 USA Curtis Cup Team competitor Stasi, 37, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has again teamed with Woodard, 41, of Greer, S.C. The duo will be looking to improve upon last year’s run to the quarterfinals. They will play with 19-year-old Mercer University rising sophomores Janiga, of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Romeo, of Tampa, Fla. Romeo registered the final hole-in-one in U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links history on the sixth hole of The Home Course in DuPont, Wash., in 2014.

Mariah Massa and Julie Massa/Alexa Pano and Alyssa Lamoureux
#1 Tee 9:12 a.m. May 21/#1 Tee 12:36 p.m. May 22

The Massa mother-daughter tandem is grouped with 2016 Drive, Chip & Putt Girls 11-12 champion Pano, 11, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Lamoureux, 16, of St. Petersburg, Fla. Pano is the youngest competitor in championship history. The Massa’s are the second mother-daughter duo to compete in the championship, following Martha Leach and Madison Gerstle in 2015. Julie Massa, 52, a reinstated amateur, won the 2013 Michigan Women’s Mid-Amateur and Mariah, 22, recently completed her senior season with the women’s golf team at Michigan State University.

Carolyn Creekmore and Leeann Fairlie/Yu Chiang Hou and Yu Sang Hou
#1 Tee 11:36 a.m. May 21/#1 Tee 8:12 a.m. May 22

Creekmore, 63, of Dallas, Texas, is the oldest competitor in the field, and along with Fairlie, 52, of Oklahoma City, Okla., they are hoping to prove that age is only a number. Creekmore won the 2004 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and was runner-up five years later. A member of the Texas and Arkansas golf halls of Fame, Creekmore had to take a one-year hiatus from the game in 2014 after tearing her rotator cuff. On the other end of the age spectrum, their fellow competitors the first two days are teenage sisters Yu Chiang Hou, 15, and Yu Sang Hou, 16, of Chinese Taipei.

Kim Kaul and Victoria Parker/Kendall Griffin and Athena Yang
#1 Tee 7 a.m. May 21/#1 Tee 10:24 a.m. May 22

Nearly 40 years separates Buffalo, N.Y., residents Parker, 18, and Kaul, 57, giving the side the largest age difference among partners in the championship’s two-year history. A four-sport athlete at Canisius College, Kaul was invited to the 1992 Olympic Trials for softball, and was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, three years before winning the New York Senior Women’s Championship. The first balls of the championship will be struck by 2015 stroke-play medalists and quarterfinalists Griffin, 17, of Sebring, Fla., and Yang, 18, of Winter Haven, Fla. Griffin, who plans to attend Louisiana State University in 2017, won the 2016 Ione D. Jones/Doherty Championship, while Yang is headed to Mississippi State University in the fall.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

  

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