Long Day Ends With Women’s Open Qualifying Spot For Rosales 

May 25, 2010

By David Shefter, USGA

Washington, N.J. – Jennifer Rosales approached the scorer’s table at the conclusion of her 36-hole U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier at Hawk Pointe Golf Club late Tuesday afternoon looking visibly disgusted. Several times, she slapped her hip with her golf glove.

It wasn’t the demeanor typical of someone who had just shot the day’s best round, a 2-under-par 69 on the demanding 6,494-yard

Jennifer Rosales, seen here competing in the 2004 U.S. Women's Open, rallied with a second-round 69 to earn a spot in the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at a sectional qualifier held May 25 at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington, N.J. (USGA Museum)

But a quick glance at the scores and Rosales knew her day wasn’t quite finished.

“I thought, I have to go another hole,” said the exhausted 31-year-old Philippines native who now resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Rowland Heights.

Never mind that Rosales had clawed her way back from a disappointing 76 in the morning, a round that began with a double-bogey 7 at the par-5 10th hole. At lunch, her prospects of earning one of the four available spots from the 53-player field looked grim, especially since a handful of players had opened with 74 or better.

Rosales, an 11-year LPGA Tour veteran with two victories (the last coming at the 2005 SBS Open), sharpened her focus and fought through fatigue to shoot the 69, including a clutch 6-iron approach to the 391-yard 18th hole for a 4-foot birdie.

Then in the playoff for the last qualifying spot with Korea’s Jimin Kang, the 1999 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up, Rosales ripped a 4-iron approach from 181 yards to 12 feet for a two-putt par at the 436-yard first hole. When Kang, who found a greenside bunker with her approach, made a double-bogey 6, Rosales was in the U.S. Women’s Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open is set for July 8-11 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club outside of Pittsburgh. The Hawk Pointe sectional was one of 20 being conducted between May 17 and June 3.

“I’m too tired right now to say anything,” said a relieved Rosales, the first Filipino player to win a LPGA Tour event (2004 Chick-Fil-A Charity Championship). “It was a tough day. [In the afternoon], you knew where to hit it. You knew where to miss a shot. You knew where to put the ball. You are just trying to hang in there.”

Three golfers shared medalist honors at 2-over 144, including 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and two-time USA Curtis Cup participant Amanda Blumenherst, 23, of Scottsdale, Ariz., who rallied from an opening 74 for a 1-under 70. Blumenherst, an LPGA Tour rookie, and Rosales were the only golfers to better par. Azahara Munoz, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up and 2008 NCAA Division I individual champion, shot 73-71, while Korea’s Na On Min  had a pair of 72s.

But it was Rosales who made the most news, with her choice of attire and second-18 effort. Wearing a bright orange, green and black shirt with bright orange shorts, Rosales looked a bit like a Tour de France cyclist sans black riding shorts.

Rosales chose the Hawk Pointe sectional site because she planned to play in last weekend’s Sybase Match Play Championship at nearby Hamilton Farm Golf Club. When she didn’t get into the 64-player field, Rosales didn’t have enough time to change sectional qualifying sites, so she took a red-eye Saturday night and was out playing a practice round Sunday morning.

“I messed up,” said Rosales of her site choice. “I live in L.A. and I am here. There’s [a sectional qualifier at Industry Hills] right there 20 minutes from where I live.”

At least Rosales is flying home Wednesday morning with a spot in the Women’s Open. In 2004, Rosales finished fourth in the Open at The Orchards in South Hadley, Mass. This will be her ninth appearance in the championship. She’ll have a few weeks to rest before competing five straight weeks, including the Open.

“Thirty-seven holes! This has got to be a record for my career,” she said.

Blumenherst, meanwhile, qualified for her fifth consecutive U.S. Women’s Open and second as a pro. In 2006 at Newport (R.I.) Country Club, she tied for 10th and shared low-amateur honors with Jane Park. She had an exemption into last year’s field, but forfeited the free pass when she turned pro immediately after the NCAA Championship. She still qualified and played the weekend, making the cut on the number.

In her first full LPGA Tour campaign, Blumenherst, a three-time NCAA Player of the Year at Duke University, has competed in six events, finishing in a tie for seventh at the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico and reaching the third round of match play last weekend before being knocked out by eventual runner-up Angela Stanford at the 19th hole.

“Two very long weeks,” said Blumenherst, who was off to a corporate outing at Caves Valley in Maryland this weekend before heading to Fort Wayne, Ind., to visit family and her boyfriend, Nate Freiman, a first baseman in the San Diego Padres’ farm system who is a member of the club’s Class A team in Fort Wayne this year. “I’m not too far removed from college yet and we had several 36-hole tournaments in one day. Also the U.S. [Women’s] Amateurs had 36-hole [final] matches so I am not too out of practice.

“What’s tough is the thought that this is your one-time chance at the U.S. [Women’s] Open. It’s one day. You just hope everything is feeling right and you are going to play well.”

For Blumenherst, it was a matter of getting comfortable on the greens. She only missed four of 36 greens and hit virtually every fairway. But nothing was falling in the morning 18. In the afternoon, she made two birdies on the outward nine and had one bogey over the final nine holes.

Munoz also struggled on the greens. Also a rookie on the LPGA Tour, the 22-year-old Spaniard tied for fourth at the Bell Micro two weeks ago and reached the round of 32 at Sybase, including a first-round win over 1998 U.S. Women’s Open champion Se Ri Pak.

On Wednesday, she was headed back to Spain for a nine-day break before returning for a five-event stretch, including the Women’s Open. She played last year at Saucon Valley Country Club as an amateur, earning an exemption for being the runner-up to Blumenherst at the 2008 Women’s Amateur at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club.

“It’s the biggest event,” said Munoz of the Women’s Open. “It is very well run. Everything is amazing. I’m excited to play it as a pro.”

David Shefter is a USGA communications staff writer. E-mail him with comments or questions at dshefter@usga.org.




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