U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Li, Hyun Share Medalist, Match Women’s Am Scoring Record
August 6, 2018 | Kingston Springs, Tenn.
By David Shefter, USGA
Lucy Li is starting to collect a few medals at USGA championships. The precocious 15-year-old from Redwood Shores, Calif., joined an exclusive group on Tuesday by becoming just the third player in history to earn medalist honors in both the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur championships in the same year.
On a sweltering day when temperatures reached the mid-90s with a Heat Index of 99, the member of the victorious 2018 USA Curtis Cup Team matched the U.S. Women’s Amateur scoring record of 133 by carding a 6-under 65 at The Golf Club of Tennessee to share top honors with Selin Hyun, 17, of the Republic of Korea. Li’s 65 was the lowest in the two rounds of stroke play.
Li now joins 1986 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Michiko Hattori and two-time titlist Vicki Goetze (1989 and 1992) as the only golfers to achieve the medalist double. Goetze earned her dual medalist honors in 1990.
Li, a two-time U.S. Women’s Open qualifier who is No. 9 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™, had a chance to break Mariel Galdiano’s Women’s Amateur 36-hole mark of 133, set in 2016 at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa., but her 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth hole – her 18th of the day – missed by inches. Li hit all 18 greens in regulation after hitting just 13 in Monday’s first round.
“Yeah, it definitely gives me a lot of confidence,” said Li of medaling for a second consecutive USGA championship and third overall (she was the medalist in the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior). “I've been playing really well recently, and I think it just keeps the momentum going.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Hyun carded a 66 to post 133, a spot she held alone before Li matched her score.
Playing in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur, Hyun rolled in a 30-foot birdie on the par-5 17th hole and chipped in for another birdie on the closing hole. Earlier this year, Hyun was the runner-up in the Ladies Thailand Open, an event on the Ladies European Tour, shooting 14-under 274, one shot behind Thailand professional Kanyalak Preedasuttijit.
“She really played solid the whole week and didn't really make many mistakes,” said 18-hole leader Alexa Pano, who finished at 6-under 136 (66-70) and was grouped the first two rounds with Hyun. “I think she finished out really strong today. She's just a really solid player, and she'll do well in match play.”
Pano, 13, of Lake Worth, Fla., the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up, was vying to become the youngest medalist in U.S. Women’s Amateur history, but finished three strokes back along with Suzuka Yamaguchi, 18, of Japan and Jaclyn Lee, 21, of Canada.
Two-time Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup competitor Olivia Mehaffey, 20, of Northern Ireland, a junior at Arizona State University, registered four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the inward nine to shoot 68 (7-under 135).
The low 64 scorers from stroke play advance to match play, which begins Wednesday. Competitors have to win six matches to claim the title, including Sunday’s 36-hole championship match. FS1 begins its live broadcasts on Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. EDT, and live streaming of the Round-of-32 matches will be on usga.org from 12-2 p.m. EDT on Thursday.
- The cut for match play came at 3-over 145, the lowest in the history of the championship. The previous low was 147 in 2016. A 9-for-1 playoff for the final match-play spot will take place on Wednesday at 7 a.m., beginning on the par-3 10th hole.
- Notables to miss the cut include world No. 1 and 2018 USA Curtis Cup competitor Lilia Vu and Memphis, Tenn., resident and world No. 15 Rachel Heck. Others who failed to qualify were Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup competitors Alice Hewson and Sophie Lamb, reigning U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Kelsey Chugg, 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Erica Shepherd, 2018 Annika Award winner (college player of the year) Maria Fassi (Arkansas), four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 2016 USA Curtis Cup competitor Bethany Wu and 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open low amateur Martha Leach.
- Ellen Port, 56, of St. Louis, Mo., became the second-oldest player in championship history to qualify for match play . Three-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Anne Sander was a few weeks shy of her 57th birthday when she qualified in 1994 at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. Port, who turns 57 on Sept. 21, is 22 days younger than Sander. Port, a seven-time USGA champion, knocked a hybrid to 6 feet to set up a closing birdie to finish at 1-over 143.
- Texan Avery Zweig, at 11 the youngest competitor in the field, missed the cut by one stroke, posting 4-over 146. The two-time Drive, Chip & Putt finalist was competing in her third USGA championship of 2018.
- Other than Port, Lauren Greenlief, 27, of Ashburn, Va., was the only other mid-amateur (25 and older) to guarantee a spot in the draw. Two-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Julia Potter-Bobb and Ina Kim-Schaad are in Wednesday’s playoff.
- The last medalist to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur was Amanda Blumenherst in 2008 at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club.
Ellen Port, 56, of St. Louis, Mo. (1-over 143) on making match play:
“I've got to get my driver working. I still have some things I can do better. That's the good news. I didn't get too tired. I was worried about how I would hold up. So I just want to rest a little bit.”
Port on grinding for her even-par 71 on Tuesday:
“I worked hard. I made some putts and I kept it in front [of me]. Calm, cool and collected was just my mojo because I've struggled a little and I've had to scramble, but I did some good things.”
Olivia Mehaffey, 20, of Northern Ireland (7-under 135) on playing in the heat and humidity:
“You really have to be careful with your energy and really remember that this is a long week already, two practice rounds, two tournament [stroke-play] rounds, and it's been really good. I have my college assistant coach, Michelle [Estill], on the bag, so she's been hammering the water into me and making sure I'm eating and staying in the shade when I can, so I think just really managing your energy levels.”
Mehaffey on qualifying for match play in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur appearance:
“I feel like my swing is in a really good place. I'm hitting it good. I feel in control out there. I'm really happy with how I'm playing this week. I'm loving Tennessee and this golf course, and I'm staying with a really great host family. I'm just really happy.”
Lauren Greenlief, 27, of Ashburn, Va., on making match play for the first time in six attempts:
“I've had a really good month of golf and I've done really good preparation, had a lot of momentum coming in here, and just felt like I was striking it well and making some putts.”
Greenlief on helping to carry the banner for the mid-amateur (25 and older) players:
“I think we just play. We want to represent the mid-ams well and prove that after college you can still play [competitive] golf. There are a bunch of really solid mid-am players that we see at these tournaments. It's really awesome to see this many of them (nine) out here this week.”
2016 USA Curtis Cup competitor Bailey Tardy, 21, of Peachtree Corners, Ga., on her mindset for match play after shooting a 5-under 66 the day before her 22nd birthday:
“You know, everyone [who qualifies] deserves to be in the top 64. I've been the No. 1 seed, I've been almost the bottom seed. You can't even take what number you are. Everyone is good enough to be out here and go low any day, so just kind of sticking to my game plan and hitting solid shots on every hole.”
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.
The Social Scene
For the second time this summer, Californian @_lucy_li will wear the USGA medal for shooting the low score in a 3⃣6⃣-hole qualifier. First was at the U.S. Girls' Junior. Today she tied Hyun Selin of South Korea at 9⃣ under at the #USWomensAm. Well done Lucy and Hyun!! 🎖️🎖️— CWAC Golf (@CWACgolf) August 8, 2018