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Medalists among notable teams to fall in U.S. Women's Four-Ball
Whitney French and Avery French (USGA photo)
Whitney French and Avery French (USGA photo)

Sisters Whitney and Avery French, the No. 32 seeds in the match-play bracket at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, defeated record-setting top seeds Faith Choi and Aneka Seumanutafa, 3 and 2, on Monday in the Round of 32 at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.

It marks the second straight year that the No. 1 seeds were defeated in the opening round.

Seumanutafa, 18, a freshman at Ohio State University from Emmittsburg, Md., and Choi, 16, of Frederick, Md., had shot a record 12-under-par 60 in Saturday’s opening stroke-play round, breaking the record by four strokes. They followed up with a 2-under 70 to set the 36-hole qualifying record by two strokes. But they lost four of the first seven holes to Whitney, 28, of Monarch Beach, Calif., and Avery, 24, of Laguna Niguel, Calif.

“Golf is very different every day,” said Seumanutafa. “Even though we made 12 birdies on the first day, two birdies the next day, it was very different conditions weather-wise, the greens. Golf is an unpredictable game.” br>
The French sisters had competed in the previous two U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Balls and reached match play both times. However, Monday’s win was their first in the Round of 32.

“We knew going in these girls are good players,” said Whitney, who played college golf at Oregon State. “We knew that we just had to stay consistent – if they were going to beat us, we had to make sure we at least parred. Avery was putting lights out. It was fun to watch her.”

“If one made a mistake, the other would make par or birdie,” said Seumanutafa. “They weren’t making too many mistakes out there.”

No. 2 seeds Sadie Englemann, of Austin, Texas, and Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tenn., eliminated 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Lauren Greenlief, of Ashburn, Va., and Katie Miller, of Jeannette, Pa., 4 and 3.

“We were 1 down before we won [Nos.] 7 and 8,” said Englemann, 16, who will attend Stanford with Heck, 17, starting in 2020. “We knew they were really good players, but when we got to 1 up, it was a confidence booster, because you know it takes two holes to get back down. We both felt really good going to the back nine.”

Englemann and Heck won Nos. 12-14 to seal the verdict.

No. 3 seeds Julia Potter-Bobb and Kelsey Chugg, both U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions, lost to Lauren Gomez and Olivia Yun, 2 and 1. Gomez, of San Diego, Calif., birdied the final hole of stroke play on Sunday to qualify the side for match play, and she and Yun, of Carlsbad, Calif., won Nos. 5-7 to take a lead they would not relinquish.

Defending champions Katrina Prendergast and Ellen Secor, the No. 11 seeds, also advanced with a 3-and-2 win over Maria Alejandra Ferrer Alvarez and her sister, Maria Paula, of Mexico.

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball

The U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA championship, was played for the first time in 2015 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon. It immediately became one of the USGA's most popular tournaments. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those women with a Handicap Index of 14.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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