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Women's Am: Li co-medals, Greenlief qualifies, 5 to watch
07 Aug 2018
by Julie Williams of AmateurGolf.com

see also: U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, The Golf Club of Tennessee, Lucy Li Profile

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Lucy Li (USGA photo)
Lucy Li (USGA photo)

KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. (Aug. 7, 2018) – Add another medal to Lucy Li’s collection. The 15-year-old earned co-medalist honors at the U.S. Women’s Amateur on Tuesday after climbing up the leaderboard in the afternoon with a second-round 65.

Li, two weeks removed from medaling at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, was 9 under through two rounds at the Golf Club of Tennessee. She had six birdies and no bogeys in her second round, and the two birdies on her closing holes helped vault her to the top of the leaderboard.

In fact, Li hasn’t had a bogey yet this week. Her first-round 68 included just three birdies.

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence,” said Li, who played on the victorious U.S. Curtis Cup team this summer. “I've been playing really well recently, and I think it just keeps the momentum going.”

Li tied Korea’s Hyun Selin at the top of stroke play. Selin had rounds of 67-66. She also birdied her final two holes thanks to sharp work around the greens.

Olivia Mehaffey, the Northern Irishwoman who was a Curtis Cup star for Great Britain and Ireland earlier this summer, is solo third at 7 under. Alexa Pano, the Girls’ Junior runner-up, tied Canadian Jaclyn Lee, who plays for Ohio State, for fourth at 6 under. Japan’s Suzuka Yamaguchi was also on that number.

Lauren Greenlief, one of eight mid-amateurs in the field, climbed to seventh with a second-round 67. Greenlief, who won the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur as well as the Virginia Women’s Amateur the past two years, will make her match-play debut in this event after six tries.

“I've had a really good month of golf and I've done really good preparation, had a lot of momentum coming in here, and just felt like striking it well and making some putts,” Greenlief said.

The cut to match-play fell at 3 over. Nine women on that number will return to the course early Wednesday to play off for the final spot on the bracket. That player will meet Li in the first round.

Need a guide to the start of match play? Here are five first-round matches to keep an eye on:

10:20 a.m. CDT: Allisen Corpuz vs. Yealimi Noh
Corpuz, a junior at USC, has plenty of match play experience – she has played eight USGA events since becoming the youngest competitor in a USGA Championship at the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links. She was 10. Experience is great, but Noh is certainly the favorite in this match. She’s probably the favorite in the tournament, considering she has won for the past three consecutive weeks (including at the U.S. Girls’ Junior).

11:30 a.m. CDT: Alexa Pano vs. Isabella Fierro
Two weeks ago, Pano, 13, was runner-up to Noh at the Girls’ Junior. Pano is a player who is experienced under the spotlight, and after a run through the match-play bracket last week, nothing should faze her. Fierro, 17, has an age advantage, and a lengthy list of championships under her belt. She won the South American Women’s Amateur by 10 shots last year, but maybe more importantly, also won the North & South Women’s Amateur – the latter is a match-play event.

1:50 p.m. CDT: Bianca Pagdanganan vs. Albane Valenzuela
If you’re on the grounds at Golf Club of Tennessee, follow this match. Pagdanganan -- who led Arizona to the NCAA title both in grit, spirit and unlikely putts made -- admits she isn’t too experienced in match play, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a player who shows more heart on the golf course. Pagdanganan likes to play aggressively, which bodes well for match play where one mistake won’t ruin your entire day. Valenzuela was runner-up here a year ago, and this statement from Monday gives a pretty good look at her mindset: “Last year, I made a good run at this tournament. Runner-up, it's something everyone would like to take, so now I have nothing to lose.”

2:00 p.m. CDT: Sierra Brooks vs. Hailee Cooper
Brooks was runner-up to Hannah O’Sullivan at the 2015 Women’s Amateur, and spent much of the next two years battling injury. She recently transferred from Wake Forest to Florida, starting on the Gator roster last spring, and played inspired golf. Just her performance from the spring season earned her an honorable mention All-America nod. Brooks’ renewed mindset could be dangerous for Cooper, a strong Texan playing in her fourth consecutive Women’s Amateur. Cooper is also a USGA champion, having partnered with future Texas teammate Kaitlyn Papp to win the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.

2:30 p.m. CDT: Dylan Kim vs. Ellen Port

Port became the second-oldest player to qualify for match play in this championship (you can read more about that here) in what has arguably been the best story of the tournament so far. But if you’re Port and sacrificing a little length (Port has struggled off the tee this week, admitting she needs a technology upgrade for her driver), the last player you want to see across from you on the match-play bracket is Kim. The Arkansas stand-out is a powerful and determined player, with one of the smoothest swings in college golf. Port will need to have all pistons firing around the greens because there are bound to be a lot of Kim birdies.

Results For U.S. Women's Amateur Championship
WinTXKristen GillmanAustin, TX2000
Runner-upAustraliaJiwon JeonAustralia1500
SemifinalsAZKaylee BentonLitchfield Park, AZ1000
SemifinalsSCLauren StephensonLexington, SC1000
QuarterfinalsCanadaJaclyn LeeCanada700

View full results for U.S. Women's Amateur Championship

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur

The U.S. Women's Amateur, the third oldest of the USGA championships, was first played in 1895 at Meadowbrook Club in Hempstead, N.Y. The event is open to any female amateur who has a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4. The Women's Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

View Complete Tournament Information

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