U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, Round 2: Five Things to Know October 6, 2018 | Vero Beach, Fla. By Scott Lipsky, USGA

Karen Garcia won this championship in 2015 as the No. 55 seed, proving that anything can happen in match play. (USGA/Matt Sullivan)

U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Home

Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club took center stage for the first time in its USGA championship history on Saturday, treating players to scenic views, windy weather and quite a challenging test. Competitors have one more round of stroke play to negotiate, with the top 64 after 36 holes moving on to match play. Here are five things to look out for during Round 2 on Sunday.

Will a Newcomer Emerge?

Experience is playing a big role through one round at Orchid Island. Heading into Round 2, only two players in the top 20 are U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur rookies. Kelley Nittoli, of San Antonio, Texas, shot 3-over 75 and Jessica Lederhausen, of Chicago, Ill., shot 4-over 76 on Saturday. Can one of them, or one of their counterparts, earn a high seed on Sunday?

No Water, but Beware

The most prominent playing characteristic at Orchid Island is the abundance of water throughout the Arnold Palmer design, with some form of water hazard on 17 out of 18 holes. The odd one out is the par-3 fifth hole, but it hardly provided a respite for the 132-player field on Saturday. Measuring 154 yards during Round 1, No. 5 was the longest par 3 and the second-toughest. Playing to a stroke average of 3.36, it surrendered just nine birdies and players made 10 double bogeys or worse.

Hometown Favorite in the Mix

Laura Carson is looking to bounce back this week after missing the cut in last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur for just the third time in nine tries. A home game may be just the ticket. Carson, 62, a longtime resident of Vero Beach, shot a 4-over 76 on Saturday to put her squarely in the match-play conversation heading into Round 2. Her husband, Bruce, was Orchid Island’s first head professional when the golf course opened in 1991, but Carson wasn’t very familiar with the layout until playing a series of practice rounds in the month leading up to the championship.

 “I think (local knowledge) is great, it does help,” said Carson on Saturday. “You know where not to hit your ball, and if you do hit your ball there, you know how to get out of trouble.”

Contending for Medalist? Take Note

There will be a crowded leader board fighting to claim the top seed in match play, with 16 players within five shots of the lead. Whoever prevails after 36 holes, however, should know that once match play begins Monday, the distinction guarantees little. Since the championship format moved to match play in 1997, the only time the stroke-play medalist went on to win the championship was in 2002, when Carol Semple Thompson claimed her fourth straight title. In fact, in the 15 years since Thompson’s triumph, a single-digit seed has only gone on to win six times.

Par 5s Provide Stern Challenge

When competitors see a par 5 on the scorecard, they often look at those holes as spots where they can pick up a shot. If a player is on the back nine on Sunday needing a birdie to improve their chances to advance to match play, they may have to find other options. The two par 5s on the inward nine, Nos. 13 and 18, were the second- and fourth-most difficult holes, respectively, with stroke averages of 5.81 and 5.73. On the front side, holes 4 and 8 rank 10th and seventh, a little less trying, but still playing more than a half-stroke over par.  

Scott Lipsky is the senior manager of content for the USGA. Email him at slipsky@usga.org.

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