U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Stroke Play: Four Groups to Watch
May 18, 2017
By David Chmiel, USGA
Like much of women’s golf, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship should be one for the ages – literally. While the average age of competitors – who represent 28 states and seven countries – is 22.8 years old, the field comprises a wild swing in ages, from five sides averaging younger than 15 to teams of players with vast USGA championship experience. As Hailee Cooper and Kaitlyn Papp prepare to defend their title, here is what you need to know before the championship begins:
The championship will take place at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The course was originally designed and built by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened in December 1950. Jones oversaw an extensive redesign in 1992 and his son, Rees, converted the greens from bentgrass to bermudagrass and reworked tees and bunkers in 2013.
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club has previously hosted two USGA championships, the 1962 U.S. Women’s Open (won by Murle Lindstrom) and the 1977 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur (won by Dorothy Porter).
One of the most popular formats played at golf courses nationwide, four-ball consists of two-person sides, with each member of a side playing their own ball and the better score counting as the team’s score for the hole. Sixty-four teams will compete for the title of 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champions. Tee times for the 18-hole stroke play rounds will run from 7 a.m. to 1:24 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, after which the low 32 teams will be seeded for the match-play rounds, which will begin on May 29.
Here are four notable groupings to keep an eye on during stroke play (all times EDT; all competitors going off first tee):
Hailee Cooper and Kaitlyn Papp/Meghan Stasi and Dawn Woodard (10:36 a.m./ 7:12 a.m.)
Two-for-one: Two powerhouse teams – defending champions Hailee Cooper, 17, of Montgomery, Texas, and Kaitlyn Papp, 18, of Austin, Texas (both of whom have verbally committed to the University of Texas) will play alongside four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 38, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and three-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur medalist Dawn Woodard. Woodward, 42, of Greenville, is the only native South Carolinian in the field.
Robin Burke and Ellen Port/Alexandra Austin and Lauren Greenlief (11:12 a.m./7:48 a.m.)
Championship Tested: Robin Burke and Ellen Port, two of the most decorated USGA championship competitors and both USA Curtis Cup Team captains – Burke in 2016, Port in 2014 – got into the field as alternates and hope to make the most of the opportunity. Burke, 54, of Houston, Texas, who is married to World Golf Hall of Fame member Jackie Burke Jr., has competed in more than 35 USGA championships. Port, 56, of St. Louis, Mo., is a seven-time USGA champion, most recently as 2016 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion. They will tee it up in stroke play with a pair of Virginia residents: Alexandra Austin, 24, of Burke, who played for Radford University, is playing in her 13th USGA championship, and Lauren Greenlief, 26, of Oakton, who played at the University of Virginia, is the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. They are playing in their second Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, having lost to Cooper and Papp in last year’s semifinals.
Bailey Tardy and Monica Vaughn/Julia Calbi and Isabelle Kane (12:36 p.m./ 9:12 a.m.)
BGOC (Big Golfers on Campus): Bailey Tardy and Monica Vaughn are coming to Myrtle Beach from the NCAA Championships, where Tardy, 20, of Norcross, Ga., is a sophomore at University of Georgia and Vaughn, 22, of Reedsport, Ore., just finished a stellar career at Arizona State University. They both competed for the USA in the 2016 Curtis Cup Match. They will play with 20-year-old Dartmouth College teammates and Illinois natives Julia Calbi, 20, of South Barrington, and Isabelle Kane, 20, of Winnetka. The Ivy Leaguers will each be playing in their third USGA championship and first Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.
Kay Daniel and Abbey Daniel/Sofia Chabon and Mikhaela Fortuna (8:48 a.m./12:12 p.m.)
Family Affair: The only mother-daughter team in the field, Kay Daniel and Abbey Daniel bring some impressive credentials. Kay, 46, of Covington, La., who is playing in her 15th USGA championship, played collegiately at Mississippi State University. She advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Squire Creek Country Club in her home state of Louisiana. Abbey, 16, is a high school sophomore who competed in the 2015 Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club and was the Louisiana Junior Girls’ state champion. Joining them for the two days of stroke play are a pair of 16-year-olds from the Philippines: Sofia Chabon and Mikhaela Fortuna, who reached the Round of 16 in last year’s championship at the Streamsong Resort in Florida.
David Chmiel is the manager of Members content for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.