DUPONT, Wash. – Cindy Ha, 17, of Demarest, N.J., shot a 5-under 67 and holds the first-round clubhouse lead following Monday’s morning wave of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, being conducted at The Home Course.
Ha, a member of New Jersey’s winning team at the 2013 USGA Women’s State Team Championship, converted seven birdies to only two bogeys on the 6,169-yard, par-72 layout. Annie Park, a member of the victorious 2014 USA Curtis Cup Team and the co-medalist at the 2013 Women’s Amateur Public Links, sits two strokes back at 3-under 69.
Playing in her third Women’s Amateur Public Links, Ha played what she called “unreal” golf. The incoming freshman at Vanderbilt University earned her lowest score in USGA competition.
“Everything was really solid,” said Ha, who reached the quarterfinals of the 2013 championship. “Tee shots are really important here and I was hitting the fairways with pretty long drives, so I had wedges in. From there, (I was) just hitting them close and making the putts.”
Park, 19, of Levittown, N.Y., came to The Home Course off a month of travel that included the Curtis Cup Match in St. Louis and the World University Golf Championship in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, as well as stops in Florida and California. However, all the miles and time zones did not adversely affect her.
“I had trouble hitting it on the fairways with my tee shots, but I’ve got all day to work on that,” said Park, who reached the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur. “I had some birdie putts that I made and some that I missed, but the greens are in unbelievable condition.”
Lucy Li, the 11-year-old from Redwood Shores, Calif., who captivated fans at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open by becoming the championship’s youngest-ever qualifier, carded two birdies and four bogeys en route to a 2-over 74.
A trio of players sits at 2-under 70, including local favorite Soobin Kim, who attends the University of Washington. Alice Kim, who plays for Gonzaga University in Spokane, and 2013 Girls’ Junior runner-up Lakareber Abe are among five players at 1-under 71.
Reigning Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Lauren Diaz-Yi began her title defense with an even-par 72.
Terese Romeo made her second career hole-in-one, using a 4-hybrid at the par-3, 171-yard sixth hole. It is the seventh known ace in championship history.
The afternoon wave of 78 players includes 2012 Women’s Amateur Public links champion Kyung Kim, 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Gabriella Then and 2014 NCAA Division I individual champion Doris Chen, who was the runner-up to Diaz-Yi at the 2013 Women’s Amateur Public Links.