VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, NC (July 13, 2016) -- Anna Redding got a head start on match play Wednesday at the 114th Women’s North & South Amateur.
The 2013 Girl’s North & South Junior champion holed an 18-foot par putt on the fourth playoff hole to eliminate Maria Torres and emerge from a 4-for-1-spot playoff to earn the 16th and final seed entering Thursday’s Round of 16 matches at the storied Pinehurst championship.
“Unbelievable,” Redding said. “It’s incredible. Just two years ago I was sitting at home watching the U.S. Women’s Open here, and it’s such an honor to do something like this here on the amateur level.”
Redding, a sophomore at Virginia and native of Concord, will face off against medalist and reigning Big Ten champion August Kim in the first match at 7 a.m. on Thursday. Kim was brilliant in Wednesday’s final round of stroke play on Pinehurst No. 2, carding the low round of the day – an even-par 71.
“It’s fantastic,” said Kim, a senior at Purdue. “But of course there are two more days. Obviously, though, I’m happy with the way I’m playing.”
On a day when the putter utterly failed her during the final round – Redding had a staggering 40 putts in shooting a 7-over 78 to nearly miss the cut – she was masterful on No. 2’s greens in the playoff. After Torres, the reigning SEC Champion, made a long birdie putt on the opening playoff hole – No. 2’s 1st hole – Redding followed with her own lengthy birdie putt right on top of it to stay alive as Cheyenne Knight and Sierra Sims were eliminated.
“I was like, ‘Don’t be a little wimp. Don’t leave it short,’” Redding said. “Hers went it, and it was an amazing putt. I told myself, ‘OK, let’s make an amazing putt also.’”
She did, then got up and down from about 50 feet on 17 to force a third playoff hole on 18. Both players parred again, extending the playoff back to the 1st on No. 2.
Redding was immediately in trouble off the tee, going long and well right to find herself impeded by a wire grass bush. Torres had just a wedge to the green from the fairway, but didn’t catch it flush, leaving it short of the green.
Redding tried to pitch back to the fairway, but managed only to advance the ball about 20 yards, where it remained on hardpan in the native area. From there she hit her third shot to about 18 feet above the hole.
Torres, though, chipped over the green, opening the door for Redding.
“It was another one – ‘I’m not leaving this one short either,’” Redding said of the winning putt.
In the end, on a day when she needed those 40 putts to get through her round, Redding needed just six over four holes in the playoff. She birdied the 1st to open her round on Wednesday, and so in three times playing the hole, she 1-putted each time.
Now she’ll advance to match play, where Redding made a charge a year ago in the North & South. Redding nearly made the championship match a year ago, falling to eventual champion Bailey Tardy in the semifinals.
“There’s just something about Pinehurst,” Redding said. “It’s like my second home. I love everything about this place – the history, everything. It’s so special, and all I wanted to do was to try to make it back to match play.”
The road doesn’t get any easier from here. While Kim has been the championship’s steadiest player, there are several formidable players throughout the bracket. 2015 North & South medalist Katelyn Dambaugh, the highest -ranked player in the tournament’s field, earned the 11th seed while Texas A&M star Maddie Szeryk finished second, a shot back of Kim. Emilia Migliaccio, who fired a brilliant 4-under 67 in Tuesday’s second round, owns the third seed while Cary’s Jennifer Chang – top top-ranked junior in North Carolina – is the fourth seed.
The Round of 16 and quarterfinal matches will be played Thursday, with the semifinal and championship matches being played on Friday. The public is invited to follow the action at no charge.
The Women’s North & South Amateur is the longest consecutively running amateur championship in the United States. North & South champions are among the legends of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk Bell, Hollis Stacey as well as Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.
As much as the North & South is a championship with a great past, it also continues to foster a great legacy. Ten of the last 13 Amateur champions have joined the LPGA Tour, three of whom have won major championships – Pressel, Tseng and as of Sunday, Lang, who won the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open.
Editors Note: Story by Alex Podlogar, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club with permission