U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Round 1 of Stroke Play: Five Storylines May 27, 2017 | MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. By David Chmiel, USGA

Megan Carter, a late alternate in the field, is playing solo in the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship at The Dunes Club. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

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The 3rd U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship began on Saturday morning at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. Here are five things to watch in the first round of stroke play:

ON A ROLL If momentum holds any sway for the championship, no team is as hot as Monica Vaughn and Bailey Tardy. Vaughn, who just finished her senior year at Arizona State University, had a whirlwind week leading into her arrival at The Dunes Club, winning the NCAA Individual championship and helping the Sun Devils claim the team title as well. Tardy, a student at the University of Georgia, earned her way into the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open this week when she shot 71-69—140 to earn medalist honors in qualifying at Butler Country Club in Western Pennsylvania.

ALUMNI NETWORK With nearly one-third of the 64 teams in the field being comprised of past, present or future college teammates, the championship seemingly could qualify as an NCAA meeting. Eighteen of the teams will be relying on the shorthand that teammates develop over time playing together.

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM One competitor will need to have long-distance support from her college teammate. Megan Carter and Adela Cejnarova, teammates at Boston University, were longshot alternates – such longshots that Cejnarova went home to Prague for the summer. But when Robin Burke and Ellen Port were late scratches, Carter and Cejnarova were in, so Carter, of Waycross, Ga., decided to go at it alone.

ONE TO WATCH While competitors may have the 13th hole in the back of their minds, they shouldn’t ignore the challenge of the watery 11th. The par-4 “Salt Marsh,” a dogleg-right, is hugged on the right from tee to green by the Singleton Swash. After two days of practice, though, the marshy area doesn’t seem to be as much of a deterrent as the nearly undetectable wind that makes the approach shot play two clubs longer than the yardage would indicate.

THE HEAT OF COMPETITION With the launch of the first ball, the heat is on every team. But forecasters predict that the heat will be on everyone as the week unfolds at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. Sudden storms before the practice rounds kept the humidity low, but the heat will be ratcheting up through Memorial Day and into the heart of the championship.

David Chmiel is manager of member content for the USGA. Email him at dchmiel@usga.org

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