By Christina Lance, USGA
CHARLESTON, S.C. (August 7, 2013) – Yumi Matsubara, of Japan, the stroke-play medalist, continued her solid play at the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, winning her first-round match, 2 and 1, over Bianca Maria Fabrizio of Italy.
Other notables to advance at the Country Club of Charleston include four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, of Oakland Park, Fla.; 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Minjee Lee, of Australia; and reigning NCAA champion Annie Park, of Levittown, N.Y.
Matsubara held a 4-up lead through 12 holes and never trailed en route to victory. Fabrizio tightened the gap with birdies at the 13th and 15th holes, but Matsubara’s 20-foot par putt at the par-3 17th clinched the victory.
“I'm glad to win this match,” said Matsubara, through June Nagashima, an official with the Japan Golf Association. “I did well, score-wise, so that's the point for me.”
Despite recent match-play success in her native Japan, Matsubara prefers stroke play, even admitting to treating the match-play format as just another stroke-play round.
“I just try to play just like stroke play, so I don't have a special strategy for match play,” said Matsubara, who was the runner-up at the 2013 Japanese Women’s Amateur Championship and reached the semifinals in 2012. “I just focus on the scores.”
Matsubara’s second-round opponent will be 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Lauren Diaz-Yi. The 17-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif., advanced with a 4-and-3 victory over Desiree Dubreuil.
Admitting to a case of nerves on the first tee, Diaz-Yi said she did not feel comfortable with the state of her game, despite the wide margin of victory.
“I wasn't striking the ball as well as yesterday,” said Diaz-Yi, who departs for the University of Virginia in just a few days. “My putting saved me a lot. Once I got the putts going, I was able to make the critical putts.”
Stasi finally broke through her Women’s Amateur barrier, advancing to the second round for the first time in nine tries with a 2-and-1 win over Austria’s Carolin Pinegger.
The 34-year-old Stasi heaved a big sigh of relief following the match.
“It was a great match,” said Stasi, who had the usual presence of her dad, Mike Bolger, on the bag. “Just made a few birdies and it was really just a fun match. She played great and I just snuck it out.”
Stasi was 3 under par through 17 holes, with the usual match-play concessions. Her bogey-free card included three birdies, a far cry from the eight bogeys she carded in Tuesday’s second round of stroke-play qualifying.
“I made a lot of putts, putted really well today,” said Stasi. “Yesterday I don't know who was putting, but that’s just what happens. I came back, worked on it a bit yesterday and was fortunate just to play solid. That's all I'm trying to do.”
Stasi had only advanced to match play once before in the Women’s Amateur, and she lost in the first round in 2010 to Kelly Shon. In a twist of fate, Stasi and Shon will meet in Thursday’s second round, as Shon, of Port Washington, N.Y., advanced with a 1-up victory over Gabriela Lopez.
Wednesday afternoon featured a battle of 2012 Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup Team members. With her twin sister, Lisa, as her caddie, Leona Maguire, of the Republic of Ireland, defeated Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, 3 and 2.
Maguire and Meadow twice played together at the 2012 Curtis Cup Match, falling in their foursomes match and winning in four-ball. Given their many years of European camaraderie and competition, Maguire knew she had her hands full with Meadow.
“I have a lot of respect for her and her game, so I knew it would be a tough match today,” said Maguire, who pointed to her par putt for a halve at the par-5 ninth as the moment that swung the match in her favor.
Local favorite Katelyn Dambaugh, 18, advanced with a 2-up victory over two-time U.S. Women’s Open competitor Mariel Galdiano. Dambaugh, whose Goose Creek home is just 20 miles north of the Country Club of Charleston, trailed by two holes with five to play, but won the closing two holes for the comeback victory.
“It was pretty stressful out there,” said Dambaugh, an incoming freshman at the University of South Carolina. “I hit a few wild shots, but kept calm, went to 18 and finished strong.”
In addition to Diaz-Yi and Stasi, three other past USGA champions advanced to Wednesday’s second round. Minjee Lee, the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, rolled to a 6-and-4 victory over Elizabeth Nagel, while 2010 Girls’ Junior winner Doris Chen, of Chinese Taipei, took a hard-fought 1-up win over Erynne Lee. Emily Tubert, of Burbank, Calif., the 2010 Women’s Amateur Public Links champion, eliminated 2012 WAPL runner-up Ashlan Ramsey, 2 and 1.
Kacie Komoto, an incoming freshman at Northwestern University, upset reigning Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur champion Brooke Mackenzie Henderson. Komoto, 18, of Honolulu, took the lead with a birdie at the par-5 fifth and rolled to a 4-and-3 victory over Henderson, who is 10th in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Reigning NCAA champion Park easily advanced with a 4-and-3 victory over Lauren Stephenson, of Lexington, S.C. The 17-year-old from Levittown, N.Y., will next meet fifth-seeded Brittany Fan, who eliminated Monica Petchakan, 3 and 2.
In the day’s first extra-holes match, Kendall Prince, of Lake Oswego, Ore., outlasted Casey Danielson for a 20-hole victory. The University of Arizona player squared the match with a birdie at the par-4 15th and sealed the victory when Danielson made bogey at the par-4 second. In the day’s final match, Grace Na, of Oakland, Calif., withstood a hard comeback from Megan Khang and eked out a 19-hole victory with a birdie-3.
Aurora Kan, of Boothwyn, Pa., eliminated Gabriella Then, who two weeks ago won the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior, 7 and 5. Also falling was 2012 Women’s Amateur champion Kyung Kim, who lost to Katelyn Sepmoree, of Tyler, Texas, 2 and 1.
Stasi’s fellow mid-amateur Dawn Woodard, of Greer, S.C., fell to 2012 Girls’ Junior runner-up Alison Lee, of Valencia, Calif., 3 and 1. Second-seeded Allisen Corpuz, of Honolulu, lost, 3 and 2, to Laura Wearn, of Charlotte, N.C.