Charlotte, N.C. – During Monday’s morning wave of the first round of stroke play at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Charlotte Country Club, the only thing hotter than the weather was Rachel Rohanna of Waynesburg, Pa.
On a steamy Charlotte morning, the 19-year-old Rohanna recorded nine birdies and two bogeys en route to a 7-under-par 65 at the par-72, 6,559-yard Charlotte Country Club, surpassing the previous 18-hole scoring record for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. The 65 betters the mark of 66 set by Kellee Booth in 1998, Natalie Gulbis in 1999 and Amanda Blumenherst in 2008.
Rohanna, who will be a sophomore at The Ohio State University this fall, admitted she was surprised by her low first-round score.
Coming into today, I was just hoping to shoot around par, maybe one or two over, said Rohanna, who is playing in her second Women’s Amateur. During the practice rounds, it was a struggle just being able to hit the fairways, keeping them on the greens and staying out of this rough. So that’s what I was most concerned about, just staying out of the rough.
She got off to a good start, making a 25-footer for birdie on the par-4 first hole.
I guess it was good to make that first putt and give myself some confidence, but if it didn’t hit that hole, it probably would have been a good 5 feet by, said Rohanna. I was getting lucky on a few shots and I was playing for the center of the green. I’ve been playing a little draw lately, so they’ve just been drawing into those pins. I played well, but I’d say that a lot of it was luck.
Rohanna admitted she didn’t realize how many birdies she was making. She credited Chuck Warren, her caddie and a friend from home, for helping her during the round.
My caddie really kept me in the moment, said Rohanna. I completely lost track. I mean, nine birdies, I can’t go back and count all of them. But it was really my caddie’s help that helped me stay in the moment, because otherwise I know I probably would have gotten a little excited and that 65 might have been much higher.
Despite the record round, Rohanna said her approach won’t change when she plays her second round of stroke play Tuesday afternoon.
Honestly, I’m just still trying to qualify, she said. If that means I have to shoot another 65, I’ll go for it. If I can just shoot 72, if I have to shoot 80, whatever. I just want to get in that top 64.
Doris Chen, 17, of Bradenton, Fla., who won the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior two weeks ago at The Country Club of North Carolina in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., finished four strokes off Rohanna’s pace, as did Jaclyn Sweeney, 21, of Andover, Mass.
Another U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, Kristen Park, 17, of Buena Park, Calif., was five shots back after a first-round 70. Park, who won the 2007 Girls’ Junior, admitted the weather was a factor.
I’m really not used to this [heat], said Park, who played in equally sultry conditions during the Girls’ Junior at The Country Club of North Carolina. I’m used to California weather – perfect conditions all year long. I’m not used to this, but I’m trying to adapt.
The remaining 78 players in the field had afternoon starting times on Monday. After a second day of stroke play Tuesday, the U.S. Women’s Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play. The first round of match play is scheduled for Wednesday, the second and third rounds will be played Thursday, the quarterfinal matches will be played Friday, the semifinal matches are on Saturday and the 36-hole championship final will be played Sunday.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Beth Murrison, USGA Manager of Championship Communications. For questions or comments, contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.