RANCHO MIRAGE, CA (March 31, 2016)— Reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion Hannah O’Sullivan leads a group of seven amateurs at the year's first major.
O'Sullivan opened with an even-par 72 and sits in a tie for 40th, five shots off the lead. O'Sullivan, who will be a freshman at USC this fall, opened with 10 straight pars before a birdie on the par 5 11th. She went on to bogey holes 13 and 14 but finished well with a birdie on 18.
Spanish Ladies International Champion Rounding Albane Valenzuela also played well, firing a 1-over par 73 to sit just within the cut line in a tie for 60th.
U.S. Women's Amateur runner-up Sierra Brooks will need a low round tomorrow to make the cut after opening with a 5-over 77.
The 2016 USA Curtis Cup team will be well represented at the ANA Inspiration this week at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills. 17-year-old Andrea Lee joined Hannah O’Sullivan and Sierra Brooks in the field after qualifying at the ANA Junior Inspiration on Monday.
Lee, Hermosa Beach, CA, is competing in the ANA Inspiration for the second consecutive year. Last year she shot rounds of 73-75 to miss the cut by a stroke.
In 2015 Lee, a Stanford commit, received one of the many amateur invitations that the tournament issues each year. However, this year she had to shoot a 5-under-par 67 on the Palmer Course at Mission Hills Country Club to beat out 39 other amateur golfers to earn the only qualifying spot in the field.
“To be part of the (ANA Inspiration) field and be able to compete against the pros, I’m really excited to have that opportunity and I’m really looking forward to this week,” Lee told the Southern California Golf Association following her round. “I really wanted to make it this year. I can’t wait.”
Her other Curtis Cup teammates got into the field of the first major of the year thanks to invitation. Hannah O’Sullivan, 17-years-old of Chandler, AZ is currently the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion. The USC commit also made the cut at last years U.S. Women’s Open finishing T53.
Fellow 17-year-old Sierra Brooks will be the final Curtis Cup team member in the field. Like O’Sullivan she earned her spot via invitation. Brooks was the runner up to O'Sullivan in last years U.S. Amateur. She also won the South Atlantic Amateur and the Women’s Southern Amateur. Brooks will be headed to Wake Forest next year to play her college golf.
There are four other amateurs competing in the ANA Inspiration with three of the four coming from the college ranks. USC will be sending junior Karen Chung a 2014 All-American. While fellow Los Angeles school UCLA, will be sending junior Bronte Law the two-time defending English Women’s Amateur champion. Out of the ACC will be Duke sophomore Leona Maguire the WGCA and Golfweek National Player of the Year from last year.
Rounding out the amateur invites is Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland. Last year Valenzuela won the Spanish Ladies International Stroke Play title.
-The USGA and SCGA contributed to this story