Lauren Greenlief is going to have some summer vacation tales to tell, especially if she can win this week’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
In July, Greenlief, 25, of Oakton, Va., took a part-time leave of absence from her position as a management consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. Instead of beginning the pursuit of an MBA, Greenlief opted to “play a lot of golf this summer” and work on her game.
“They were 100 percent supportive and on board,” Greenlief said.
Greenlief will not return to work full-time until the end of October, but the 29th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Squire Creek Country Club is sure to be one of the main highlights of her hiatus.
In her first year of eligibility, Greenlief has already advanced to the quarterfinals.
“I have probably played nine or 10 tournaments, so I feel very ready and prepared, and I kind have expected to do well,” she said. “I am very pleased with the way I’m performing right now.”
Greenlief has been methodically consistent, beginning with a 5-over 149 runner-up finish in stroke play. Greenlief said her second-round 72 helped set the tone for her match-play performance.
“I have played USGA events before so I know it’s a marathon week,” said Greenlief, who is competing in her sixth USGA championship. “I set my goal to play better each day and keep the momentum. So posting that even-par round got me going and ready for match play.”
In winning her first three matches, Greenlief did not trail at any point in 47 holes and was a combined 3 over par, given the usual match-play concessions.
Should Greenlief go on to win, she would become the championship’s third successive 20-something winner and displace 1994 champion Sarah LeBrun Ingram as the youngest by nearly three months.
In May, Greenlief partnered with Abby Portyrata to reach the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship’s Round of 16. Since then, she has finished second in the Virginia State Golf Association (VSGA) Women’s Amateur and tied for third in the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship.
“I really wanted to play a fun summer and compete in a lot of tournaments. Given that I took some time off, I thought going to Canada would be a fun experience,” she said.
Greenlief, a three-time VSGA Stroke Play champion, has played golf almost every day during her break and a few members of her club, the International Country Club in Fairfax, Va., took her under their wings and provided constant competition.
In high school, a few small schools recruited Greenlief to play collegiately, but having grown up in Virginia, she always wanted to attend the University of Virginia. She walked on to the Cavaliers squad and went to four consecutive NCAA Championships with the Wahoos.
She then transitioned to the business world.
“I always wanted to continue to play amateur golf at a high level and to see the Meghan Stasis and other champions makes you want to try and earn one of those trophies for yourself,” Greenlief said.
Three more match-play wins and Greenlief will have her championship trophy, not to mention one amazing story to tell.
Stuart Hall is a North Carolina-based freelance writer whose work frequently appears on USGA websites.