EUGENE, Ore. (Aug. 6, 2008)--Amanda Blumenherst, 22, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Stephanie Na, 19, of Australia, both finished at 4-under 140 to share medalist honors following Tuesday’s second round of stroke play at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, being played at the 6,484-yard, par-72 Eugene Country Club.
Blumenherst followed up her first-round 6-under 66 with a 2-over 74. The three-time collegiate player of the year and 2007 Women’s Amateur runner-up ran into trouble with consecutive double bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes, but wasn’t discouraged by the round.
“I actually played well, I just had basically a train wreck on three holes,” said Blumenherst. “I really didn’t have any bogeys except for the doubles, so that’s going to put you back a few. I fought back, which is great, but a few things could have gone a little better.”
For the two-time USA Curtis Cupper, whose 66 on Monday tied the Women’s Amateur 18-hole scoring record, the most important result of her two days of stroke play qualifying was that she advanced.
“Match play is really the only part of the tournament that really matters,” said Blumenherst, who lost a 1-up heartbreaker to Maria Jose Uribe in the final of the 2007 championship.
For Na, who has spent seven weeks in North America playing in events, perhaps the toughest part was making it through her sectional qualifier in Georgia last month, when she shot 72 to earn the last qualifying spot.
“I was really nervous for the whole week and a half leading up to it,” said Na, the reigning Australian Stroke-play champion. “I have never really had to qualify to play in an event and if I hadn’t qualified it would have cut my trip short. It was really relieving when I qualified.”
She has made the most of her chance thus far, following up her first-round 3-under 69 with a 1-under 71 Tuesday to earn a share of medalist honors in her first USGA event.
Na came into Eugene after a disappointing week at the Canadian Amateur that included a final-round 84.
“The last day I completely fell apart,” said Na. “Nothing was working for me. It was hard to get my confidence back. But I took that that score out of me and it was good to get it out. I guess I just worked on a few things to get a few things back in line.”
One stroke off the pace was 22-year-old Canadian Kira Meixner, who followed up an even-par 72 with a 3-under 69. Another Canadian, 21-year-old Stephanie Sherlock, finished two strokes back, as did Whitney Neuhauser, 20, of Barboursville, Va.
Two golfers who have already won USGA championships in 2008 kept their hopes of becoming the seventh golfer in history to win two USGA titles in the same season by safely advancing to match play. Alexis Thompson, 13, of Coral Springs, Fla., who won the Girls’ Junior a week ago, shot a 1-under 71 to finish at 148, and Tiffany Joh, 21, of San Diego, Calif., who won her second U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links title in June, followed up her opening 74 with a 2-under 70 to advance.
One past champion was not so fortunate. Kimberly Kim, 16, of Pahoa, Hawaii, came back from her opening 82 with a 1-under 71, including a chip-in from a greenside bunker for birdie on her final hole, but missed the cut by one stroke. Kim’s victory in 2006, at age 14, made her the youngest Women’s Amateur champion in history.
Match play at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur begins Wednesday with the first round and continues with the second and third rounds Thursday. The quarterfinal matches are on Friday, the semifinals will be played Saturday and the 36-hole championship final will be played Sunday.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Beth Murrison, USGA Media Relations.