ERIN, Wisc. (June 19,2008)--It took Angela Oh a lot longer to get to Erin Hills Golf Course than it has for the 19-year-old from Maple Shade, N.J., to win her opening two matches at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.
Oh, who says this is her last competition as an amateur, eliminated Grace Na, 15, of Oakland, Calif., 6 & 5, on Thursday morning. This came on the heels of her 7 & 6 first-round victory Wednesday over Caroline Kim of Canada.
Through two rounds of match play, Oh, who has left the University of Tennessee after just two seasons, is the equivalent of seven under par (with match-play concessions) and has yet to card a bogey.
“I’m just thinking about my game, said Oh, a two time WAPL match-play participant who drove 16 hours to Wisconsin with her father from south Jersey. "I am not thinking about whether [other players] are shanking it or hooking it. I don’t really care.”
Oh will seek redemption in Wednesday afternoon’s third round matches against Michelle Shin, 17, of Cape Coral, Fla., a semifinalist at both the 2007 U.S. Girls’ Junior and WAPL. Shin, who defeated Oh in last year’s WAPL third round (2 & 1), beat Ellen Mueller 19, of Bartlesville, Okla., 5 & 3, on Thursday. Mueller had knocked off co-medalist Lizette Salas on Wednesday.
“[Oh] is like a lawnmower, just mowing through [the competition],” said Shin, looking over at her opponent seated about 15 feet away. “I played with her last year so it will be fun I guess.”
Shin, who has made a verbal commitment to play at Wake Forest in 2009, does not put much emphasis on her history with her good friend Oh.
“Today is a new day,” Shin said. “I’m just going to play the round I played today and not make any mistakes - try not to make any mistakes.”
Oh plans to turn professional right after the WAPL before she travels to Edina, Minn., next week to play in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship. Oh endured local and sectional qualifying to get into the field.
“I’m just going to play my game,” said Oh. “I am not going to think about winning. I just want to make the best of my last tournament as an amateur.”
In the last match of the morning two UCLA teammates and friends – Tiffany Joh, 21, of San Diego, Calif., and Sydnee Michaels, 20, of Temecula, Calif. – battled back and forth before Joh eventually pulled out a 3 & 2 win.
All square through nine holes, Joh, a rising senior at UCLA and 2006 WAPL champion, birdied the par-5 10th and the par-4 11th to take a 2-up lead. She would later win the par-5 14th to go 3-up.
“It’s funny because half of me wanted her to really win,” said Joh, who won a Starbucks’ hot chocolate from Michaels as part of a friendly wager. “Every time she missed a putt or something I was kind of kicking myself.”
Joh will be able enjoy victory knowing that Michaels will be playing in the U.S. Women’s Open next week at Interlachen Country Club.
“I think this week really helped me prepare for next week,” said Michaels, a veteran of USGA events having played in the 2006 and ‘07 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the Women’s Open in 2006 and ’07, and the 2004 and ‘05 U.S. Girls’ Junior. “You know [Erin Hills] has really fast greens and it’s a really tough course.”
Joh is the last remaining 2008 USA Curtis Cup player, as Jennie Lee of Henderson, Nev., was eliminated in the second round by Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., 1-up. A total of five USA Curtis Cuppers started the week. Amanda Blumenherst and Kimberly Kim were ousted in the first round and defending WAPL champion Mina Harigae missed the match-play cut.