Notre Dame, Ind. – Apparently, a transcontinental journey is all the inspiration Argentina’s Martina Gavier needed to climb to the top of the leaderboard in stroke-play qualifying at the 34th U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship being contested at the 6,092-yard, par-71 Warren Course at Notre Dame.
Gavier, who travelled more than 26 hours in getting from her home in South America to the United States on Saturday, delivered a 3-under 68 in Tuesday's second round. Her 4-under 36-hole total of 137 assures Gavier a spot in match play, which begins on Wednesday, but she also is in line to be the qualifying medalist.
Several players who posted low scores on Monday, including Lizette Salas (67), Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and Brittany Altomare (68), had Tuesday afternoon starting times.
First-round leader Kimberly Kim, the 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur champion from Hilo, Hawaii, struggled to a 78 (2-over 144), while fellow Hawaiian Stephanie Kono, Kim's teammate on this year's victorious USA Curtis Cup Team, also shot 78 after a 67 on Monday. Both should make the match-play cut.
The low 64 scores qualify for match play. The 36-hole championship match is scheduled for Saturday.
After shooting 69 in Monday’s first round, Gavier had five birdies against two bogeys on day two. She birdied three of the four par 3s and played the last five holes round in three under par. The 21-year-old Gavier started her surge with a tap-in birdie at No. 14 and closed her round with consecutive birdies, stuffing a 60-degree wedge to 4 feet at No. 17 and draining an 18-footer at the par-4 finishing hole.
Gavier, a rising senior at Kent State University, posted her best round in a USGA competition, and was admittedly buoyed by Argentina’s World Cup match Tuesday with Greece.
I was inspired today, she said. Oh, my gosh, my mind is on soccer and I think it’s making me play so well. I’m super-tired from the trip, but I’m relaxed and have no expectations. I wanted to play with no pressure at all. I love the game, so there’s no need to be pressured.
Gavier made match play at last year’s WAPL, where she fell in the first round and is admittedly eyeing redemption this week.
The course fits my game," she said. "I’m pretty accurate with my irons, but it’s all about what you do on the greens.
Andrew Blair is the communications director for the Virginia State Golf Association. He is contributing articles for the USGA at this week's WAPL.