USGA history was made Aug. 25 at Walden on Lake Conroe Golf Club with the staging of the first qualifier for the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
The teams of Brooke McDougald/Courtney Dow and Abby Portyrata/Lauren Greenlief earned spots in the championship, which will be contested May 9-13, 2015 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, in Bandon, Ore.
McDougald, 17, of The Woodlands, Texas, and Dow, 16, of Frisco, Texas, combined for five birdies to post a 5-under-par 67 and earn medalist honors in the 11-team field. It’s really exciting, said Dow, who has played in the past four U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships and advanced to the Round of 32 this year. Bandon Dunes is a place that Brooke and I have always wanted to go. It’ll be a really fun event for sure."
Greenlief, of Oakton, Va., and Portyrata, of Midlothian, Va., earned the second spot with a 3-under 69 on the narrow, heavily bunkered course, which played to 6,012 yards and par 72 for the qualifier.
The youngest duo in the qualifier, McDougald and Dow have known each other for almost 10 years, having met in Pinehurst, N.C., at the 2005 U.S. Kids World Championship. Both played on the Texas Golf Association’s Legends Junior Tour. Dow won Texas State Junior Championships for her age division in 2010 and 2012. McDougald tied for third place at the 2011 Texas Girls’ Invitational.
The team of Jessica Surber/Stacy Dennis earned the first alternate spot with a 1-under 71. Kimberly Noonan and Anna Morales combined for 3-over 75 and the second alternate position.
The USGA accepted entries for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship from 336 two-player teams, five of which are exempt from qualifying due to both players being ranked among the top 500 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ as of the close of entries. The championship is open to women who hold Handicap Indexes not exceeding 14.4 with no age restrictions. Partners are not required to be from the same club, state or country.
The USGA received entries from golfers in 42 states and the District of Columbia, as well as five foreign countries. The Montgomery, Texas, qualifier was the first of 27 championship qualifiers that will be conducted in 22 states, through March 30, 2015.
We are proud that this inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball has been met with such interest, said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. This championship marks a new era in USGA history, and we are looking forward to seeing what unfolds at Bandon Dunes and beyond.
A total of 64 two-player teams will compete in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes, with each playing their own ball throughout the round. Each team’s score will be determined using their better-ball score for each hole. After 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, the field will be reduced to the low 32 teams for the match-play portion of the championship.
The 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be the fourth USGA championship held at Bandon Dunes, and the second on its Pacific Dunes course. The 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be played May 19-25 at Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, Fla.