U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Field Down to Final Four Sides at Streamsong Blue
May 24, 2016 | Bowling Green, Fla.
By Christina Lance, USGA
Medalists Pauline Del Rosario and Princess Mary Superal survived a quarterfinal scare on Tuesday afternoon and advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, being conducted on 6,216-yard, par-72 Streamsong Blue at Streamsong Resort.
Del Rosario and 2014 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Superal, both members of the Philippine National Team, are joined in Wednesday morning’s semifinals by Californians Angelina Kim and Brianna Navarrosa; Texas natives Hailee Cooper and Kaitlyn Papp; and Virginians Alexandra Austin and Lauren Greenlief, the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion.
The 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by five rounds of match play. The championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Wednesday, May 25.
Del Rosario, 17, and Superal, 19, needed a late comeback to eliminate 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball semifinalists Madelein Herr, 18, of New Hope, Pa., and Brynn Walker, 17, of St. Davids, Pa.
The Philippine duo held a 2-up lead through 10 holes, but Herr and Walker battled back and pulled all square through 13. Walker’s birdie at the par-4 15th gave them a 1-up lead, and marked the first time that Del Rosario and Superal trailed in their three matches.
But the lead was short-lived. Del Rosario’s birdie at the par-3 16th, the most difficult hole of the championship with a 3.6 stroke average, brought the match back to all square.
“I had a birdie on 16 also yesterday, so it's been pretty good to me throughout this week,” said Del Rosario, an incoming freshman at the University of Kansas.
The match came down to No. 18, where Superal calmly converted a 9-foot birdie putt to clinch the victory and a berth in the semifinals.
“I told myself just to make that putt,” said Superal, who plans to turn professional later in 2016.
“(Herr and Walker) were really good,” added Del Rosario. “Somehow we pulled through, thanks to Princess' last putt.”
In an outstanding match that featured a combined 11 birdies and no bogeys, 13-year-olds Kim, of Los Angeles, Calif., and Navarrosa, of San Diego, Calif., earned a 3-and-1 victory over Katie Miller, 31, of Jeannette, Pa., and Kristen Obush, 32, of Pittsburgh, Pa.
“They were probably the toughest opponents we’ve had in these matches,” said Navarrosa. “It was a really nice win to know that we've come this far.”
Kim and Navarrosa combined for seven birdies, and every hole that was won on either side was won with a birdie. With the match all square through 11, Navarrosa reeled off birdies at holes 12, 13 and 15 to build an insurmountable lead.
“I was just going to be aggressive,” said Navarrosa. “Like there is nothing to lose. It's match play. Anything can happen, so I just kept trying to stick my shots, and then I made the putts.”
Cooper, 16, of Montgomery, Texas, and Papp, 17, of Austin, Texas, took a 2-and-1 win over sisters Nicole Whiston, 14, and Waverly Whiston, 16, both of San Diego, Calif. After swapping the lead over the opening seven holes, Papp and Cooper pulled ahead for good with a birdie at the par-4 eighth hole.
They extended their advantage to 3 up with consecutive birdies from within 10 feet at holes 13 and 14. The Whistons birdied No. 15 to stay within striking distance, but the sides swapped birdies at the par-5 17th to clinch the victory for Cooper and Papp.
“They made a lot of putts. We just made a few putts back, so it was good,” said Cooper, a rising high school junior. “It was a dogfight all day. We were fighting back and forth.”
Papp is attempting to become the second member of the Lake Travis High School girls golf team to win a USGA national championship, joining 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman. Papp and Gillman, who lost in Monday’s first round of match play with partner Sierra Brooks, helped lead the Lake Travis team to the 2016 Texas Class 6A Championship, a stroke-play event, in April.
“This is the furthest I've ever made it in match play either by myself or the first time with a team,” said Papp, who has verbally committed to attend the University of Texas in the fall of 2017. “It's my first time making it to a semifinal match, so I'm super excited.”
Austin, 23, of Burke, Va., and Greenlief, 25, of Oakton, Va., won the par-4 first hole with a birdie and never trailed in their 2-and-1 win over Olivia Herrick, 27, of Roseville, Minn., and Samantha Sommers, 27, of Saint Cloud, Minn. Austin and Greenlief extended their lead to 3 up through nine, but Herrick and Sommers kept things close, winning holes 11 and 12 to pull within one.
“My read on the back nine was just we were both hitting solid shots and we were both in all the holes, (but) we just couldn't get putts to drop,” said Greenlief, a management consultant. “I felt a little calmer because both of us were hitting it solid and we had chances. So eventually we knew something was going to happen.”
That moment finally came on No. 15, when Austin, a 2015 graduate of Radford University, nailed a 12-footer for the birdie that sealed the match.
In the morning’s Round of 16, Del Rosario and Superal advanced with a 2-and-1 win over Hana Ku and Jordan Lippetz. Kim and Navarrosa eliminated Yoonhee Kim and Yealimi Noh, 3 and 1. Cooper and Papp took a 4-and-2 victory over Emily Mahar and Elizabeth Caldarelli, while Austin and Greenlief beat Hannah Leiner and Latanna Stone, 4 and 3.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. Entries for the 2017 championship, which will be conducted at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C., are available at champs.usga.org.
Christina Lance is the manager of championship communications for the USGA. Email her at email@example.com.