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U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Four Sides Share First-Round Lead at Maridoe With 69s April 24, 2021 | Carrollton, Texas By Amy Morton, USGA

2019 runners-up Casey Weidenfeld (left) and Jillian Bourdage overcame two early bogeys to shoot 69 on Saturday. (Darren Carroll/USGA)

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What Happened

With winds gusting to more than 20 miles an hour, the 127 competitors in the 6th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship field certainly had their work cut out for them in the first round of stroke play on Saturday at Maridoe Golf Club. 

Four teams overcame the elements – which also included nearly an inch of rain on the eve of the championship – to post 3-under-par rounds of 69. That quartet of sides included the 2019 runners-up: Casey Weidenfeld, 18, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Jillian Bourdage, 19, of Tamarac, Fla., who lost two years ago at Timuquana Country Club in their home state to Megan Furtney and Erica Shepherd, a pair of Duke University teammates who did not return to defend their title this year.

Bourdage, a freshman at Ohio State, and Weidenfeld, the 2020 American Junior Golf Association Girls Junior champion who plans to enroll at Auburn University in the fall, carded six birdies in their round. Bourdage was also runner-up in 2019 to Lei Ye in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.

After not competing in Ivy League play since March 2020, a pair of Yale University golf teammates – junior Ami Gianchandani, 21, of Watchung, N.J., and sophomore Kaitlyn Lee, 19, of Scarsdale, N.Y. – also returned a card of 3-under 69.

Also at 3 under are the youngest side in the field: Gianna Clemente, 13, of Warren, Ohio, and Avery Zweig, 14, of McKinney, Texas. In 2018 at the age of 11, Zweig became the youngest player to make match play in this championship’s history (with partner Melena Barrientos), while Clemente became the third-youngest player to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship a year later.

Karoline Tuttle, 17, of Lake Mary, Fla., and Sophie Linder, 16, of Carthage, Tenn., who reached the Round of 16 in 2019, round out the group of sides at 3 under par. Linder recently finished T-6 at the Annika Invitational, while Tuttle earned Girls’ Player of the Year honors from the Florida State Golf Association.

Six sides posted rounds of 2-under 70, including 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Lauren Greenlief and partner Katie Miller Gee, both of whom are competing in their sixth U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, and their third straight as a side. They were the last side to earn a spot in the field, as alternates out of the Petersburg, Va., qualifying site.

The U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball championship is open to sides of female amateur golfers, each of whom must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 14.4. The USGA accepted 425 side entries for the 2021 championship, which is the record number of entries for this championship. Entries closed on Sept. 9, 2020.

Yale University teammates Ami Gianchandani (left) and Kaitlyn Lee made four birdies against one bogey on Saturday. (Darren Carroll/USGA)

What's Next


The 64 sides will play one additional 18-hole round of stroke play on Sunday, with play beginning at 7:30 a.m. CDT from the first tee. The top 32 sides advance to match play on Monday. The Round of 16 will be contested Tuesday morning and the quarterfinal round will take place in the afternoon. The semifinals and 18-hole final is scheduled to be contested on Wednesday.

Notable

  • Katherine Muzi, 20 of Newport Beach, Calif., is the only solo competitor in the field. Her partner, Crystal Wang, 20 of Diamond Bar, Calif., who plays for the University of Illinois women’s golf team, had a scheduling conflict with the Big 10 Championship.

  • Reagan Gray, 18 of Missouri City, Texas, had a difficult start to her 18th birthday on Saturday. Her only pair of golf shoes was locked in her rental car by the hotel valet. With no time to spare, she purchased new shoes ahead of her round from the Maridoe pro shop. Despite the setback, she and her partner, Jacqueline Nguyen, 17 of Houston, Texas, posted a 2-under 70 to share fifth position after Round 1 of stroke play.

  • There are 16 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finalists in the field. The top three finishers in the Girls 12-13 division from last month’s championship at Augusta National are all in the field, albeit with different partners. Winner Yuna Wilson is paired with Rianna Mission; runner-up Lucy Yuan is paired with Anna Davis; and third-place finisher Avery Zweig is paired with Gianna Clemente.

  • The toughest stretch at Maridoe for the field in Round 1 was the trio of long par 4s after the turn: Holes 10, 12 and 13 played as the three toughest for the day by far. In fact, the field averaged more than 2 over par for those holes (14.14 strokes). No. 11 and No. 12 yielded just one birdie each and a total of 20 double bogeys, while three sides walked off No. 10 with a score of triple-bogey 7. There was a bit of a breather in the middle of the gauntlet: the 511-yard, par-5 11th played as the second-easiest hole for the day.

  • For the first time in U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball history the winning side will be exempt into the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur, as well as the 2021 U.S. Girls' Junior, U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, if age eligible. 
       

Quotable:

Ami Gianchandani on Round 1 with Yale teammate Kaitlyn Lee: “The biggest thing was having Kaitlyn save par numerous times. When I was out of the hole she had tough shots and she was clutch in those situations. That saved us many strokes and resulted in many pars on the scorecard.”

Lauren Clark on her bogey-free round with Kaitlyn Schroeder, 16, of Jacksonville, Fla.: “On hole 16 we both birdied it. That was the highlight of the day. It was a good boost. If this was a hard day we can do well here.”

Katherine Muzi on being the only solo player in the field: “This is always a good event. So when I found out that I wouldn’t be playing with Crystal and I wouldn’t be playing [in the Pacific-12 Championships this weekend] I knew I wanted to come out and play a USGA championship. I am just out there playing my own game.”

Jillian Bourdage on what she and teammate Casey Weidenfeld will need to succeed in Round 2 of stroke play: “We are a very good team and are always alternating throughout the round. We will play for the par and if we’re able to get birdies, we will capitalize on that. If we can continue to get good positions for chipping, we will be able to secure those pars effortlessly.”

Avery Zweig, 14, on what it means to be playing a USGA championship in her home state: “Once the USGA announced that the championship would be held in Texas, I knew I had to be there. As far as the course goes, I don’t have much of an advantage, but living 30 minutes away and sleeping in my own bed without having to worry about laundry and other small things makes it an even better experience. I was very excited going into this week and am even more excited now.”

Amy Morton is an assistant manager of communications for the USGA. Email her at amorton@usga.org.

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