U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Peng Record-Setting U.S. Women's Mid-Am Medalist
September 26, 2021 | Bluffton, S.C.
By Joey Geske, USGA
Jennifer Peng set multiple scoring records on Sunday en route to earning medalist honors in the 34th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. The 25-year-old from San Diego, Calif., fired a 6-under-par 66 on the North Course at Berkeley Hall Club – the lowest 18-hole score in championship history – for a 36-hole total of 8-under 136.
Her 136 total broke the previous 36-hole scoring record set by two-time champion Julia Potter-Bobb in 2019 at Forest Hills G.C. in Flagstaff, Ariz., by two strokes. Peng, who earned the No. 1 seed for match play that begins on Monday, finished eight strokes clear of 2018 champion Shannon Johnson, of North Easton, Mass., and Jamie Freedman, of Aventura, Fla., both of whom finished at even-par 144.
Peng, who shared the 18-hole first-round lead with Megan Buck and Sarah Gallagher after shooting 2-under 70 on Saturday, took advantage of scoring opportunities early on Sunday. Starting on the 10th tee, she birded the first two holes and picked up a third on the par-3 14th.
“It was an unbelievable day. I was just out there having a good time; putts were dropping, and I got lucky on a couple shots. I haven’t played like this in years,” said Peng.
For the second consecutive day, she made an eagle 3 on the par-5 15th – this time without the need for her putter. After hitting her second into the front-right greenside bunker, Peng holed out her third.
“It bounced on the green, had the perfect break and went right in. We were all shocked,” said Peng, a 2018 Yale University graduate who recently relocated back to her native San Diego after working in New York City following college. “I can’t remember the last time I had an eagle in tournament play and now here I did it on the same hole.”
After trading a pair of birdies and bogeys on her second nine, Peng capped her round by rolling in a 50-foot putt for birdie on the 373-yard, par-4 ninth.
Three-time U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Lara Tennant shot 74-71 to earn the No. 4 seed, while Lana Weant, of Lubbock Texas, finished 73-72 to earn the No. 5 seed. Tennant, 54, of Portland Ore., carded the lone under-par round of the morning wave, and one of only three on the day.
“I feel like my game is in a good spot. The course is tough, but I’m figuring out where to place the ball,” said Tennant, 54, who won her third consecutive Senior Women’s Am title 10 days ago in Alabama. “I had a couple good birdie putts that went in, so that’s always fortunate.”
The cut for match play came at 15-over 149, with five players vying for the final spot in the match-play draw.
The Round of 64 begins on Monday at 8:30 a.m. EDT, followed by two rounds of match play both Tuesday and Wednesday before the 18-hole championship match on Thursday at 9 a.m. EDT. Spectators are welcome to attend, and admission is free.
- Peng’s 66 beat the previous championship 18-hole score of 68, which happened four times: 2019 (Julia Potter-Bobb & Caryn Wilson), 2017 (Lauren Greenlief), 2005 (Dawn Woodard)
- Five players competed in a playoff for the 64th and final spot in the match-play bracket on Sunday. Aliea Clark, 25, of New York, N.Y., a former player at UCLA who grew up in Carlsbad, Calif., birdied the first playoff hole (par-5 10th) to punch her ticket.
- Peng’s older brother, Eric, is serving as her caddie for the first time in a competitive championship. Eric, a former golfer at Army West Point, is now stationed in Fort Irwin in California as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
- During stroke play, the 370-yard, par-4 5th hole played as the most difficult (4.68 stroke average), while the 335-yard, par-4 11th played as the easiest (4.24). No holes played under par.
- Five international players advanced to match play: Melissa Loh (Singapore), Stephanie Gelleni (Venezuela), Nonie Marler (Canada), Sathika Ruenreong (Thailand), Andrea Kosa (Canada).
- Two former U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions missed the match-play cut: Martha Leach (2009) and Margaret Starosto (2014). Starosto became a mom for a second time on Feb. 11.
- Two USGA champions will square off against each other in the Round of 64: Lara Tennant and Kathy Hartwiger (the 2002 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion), will play at 9:42 a.m. on Monday.
- Nine U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur champions advanced to match play: Kelsey Chugg (No. 41 seed), Lauren Greenlief (No. 7 seed), Hartwiger (No. 61 seed), Johnson (No. 2 seed), Ina Kim-Schaad (No. 20 seed), Ellen Port (No. 26 seed), Potter-Bobb (No. 55 seed), Meghan Stasi (No. 59 seed) and Corey Weworski (No. 29 seed). Stasi and Port have each won four titles, while Potter-Bobb has captured two.
“He’s never caddied for me in a USGA event, except in the 2007 U.S. [Women’s] Am. He was only there for stroke play; he wasn’t able to get there for the practice rounds. So to have him here for the whole thing has been pretty cool. It’s been special.” – Erin Packer on having her husband, Brandt, on the bag. Brandt is a producer for Golf Channel/NBC.
“It’s really exciting. It’s a good feeling to be up there [on the leader board], but nothing is ever guaranteed. These are all good players that got in [to the field], and they got in for a reason so just being able to stay focused on the goal at hand is important.” – Lana Weant on her position [fifth seed] after stroke play
“This is actually my lowest round ever in competition. I had another 66 in college, but it was on a par-71 [course]. I wasn’t really thinking about the score. I was just taking it hole by hole.” – Jennifer Peng on her record-breaking round
Joey Geske is a coordinator of championship communications for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.