Blumenherst Turns Down Exemption
To Kraft Nabisco Championship

Reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champ wants to save LPGA Tour exemptions until she turns pro after college season ends

February 5, 2009

By David Shefter, USGA

Far Hills, N.J. - Not wanting to use up any valuable LPGA Tour sponsor's exemptions prior to turning pro after the college season, reigning U.S. Women's  Amateur champion Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale, Ariz., has decided to turn down an invitation to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The move by the three-time college player of the year is not unprecedented. Last year, Stacy Lewis rejected the offer knowing she was turning pro after the Curtis Cup Match in Scotland. Lewis then nearly won the U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen Country Club in her first start as a professional. While Lewis did not make enough money to finish among the top 80 to receive full-exempt LPGA Tour status for 2009 (the Women's Open money did not count), she did go through Qualifying School and won the final event to secure playing privileges for 2009.

Blumenherst , a two-time USA Curtis Cupper, was the low amateur at last year's Kraft Nabisco, finishing 30th. A few months later, she made the cut at the Women's Open and then triumphed in the Women's Amateur by beating reigning NCAA Division I champion Azahara Munoz, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club in early August. It was Blumenherst's first individual national championship after helping Duke University to a pair of team NCAA titles in 2006 and '07. She was the 2007 Women's Amateur runner-up.

If Blumenherst were to play the Kraft, scheduled for April 2-5 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., it would count toward the six sponsor's exemptions that a non-LPGA Tour member can receive in any given year. The Women's Open and British Women's Open don't count because they are not conducted by the LPGA Tour. Blumenherst hopes to make enough money through sponsor's exemptions in summer and fall starts on the LPGA Tour to avoid going to Q-School.

The Kraft Nabisco Championship always extends an exemption to the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion, provided she still is an amateur. Amateur exemptions also have been given to two-time U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links champion Tiffany Joh (2006 and '08), 2008 U.S. Girls' Junior champion Alexis Thompson, Munoz and Candace Schepperle, who recently won two women's events in Florida.

It's unknown if the Kraft will add another amateur to its field to replace Blumenherst.

DavidShefteris a staff writer for the USGA's Digital Media Department. E-mail him with questions or comments at



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