Kristen Gillman, the defending Women’s North & South Amateur Champion,
advances to the quarterfinals in 2017. (Photo by Thomas Toohey Brown)
By Alex Podlogar
PINEHURST, NC (July 12, 2017) - Not only can Kristen Gillman rely on her own winning experience on Pinehurst No. 2, she can also follow the advice of someone else who knows a thing or two about Donald Ross’ masterpiece.
Gillman, the defending Women’s North & South Champion, cruised through two matches on a long, hot and humid Wednesday in the North Carolina sandhills to move two steps closer to becoming the first player to win back-to-back North & South Amateurs since Beth Bauer pulled it off in 1998-99. With wins of 7&6 in the Round of 32 and 3&2 – punctuated by a 14-foot birdie on 16 – Gillman advances to the quarterfinals of the 115th playing of the historic amateur event.
“It’s been really cool so far,” said Gillman, who was the medalist following Tuesday’s round and is a past U.S. Women’s Amateur champion. “I’m enjoying it right now, and it’s definitely great to be back in Pinehurst.”
It was on No. 2 in 1999 when Stewart famously made a dramatic 15-foot par putt to beat Phil Mickelson by one shot and win the U.S. Open. At the time, Stewart was coached by Chuck Cook, who now also coaches Gillman, who was an All-American in her freshman season at Alabama.
And while Gillman certainly can remember her march to the 2016 Women’s North & South Amateur title, she’s also had a little extra help, thanks to Cook.
“He showed me Payne’s yardage book from the 1999 U.S. Open,” said Gillman, of Austin, Texas. “And it’s amazing to look at. He had marked all of these spots on where it was best to be, but even better, he marked spots where you absolutely didn’t want to be, and had those areas scratched out. There’s a lot of history in that book, but it’s helpful, too.”
Gillman may have to lean on the book more if she’s to navigate a very difficult half of the bracket. Her next match is against a determined Anna Redding, who probably boasts the most experience at Pinehurst. The 2013 Girls’ North & South Junior champion, Redding, a junior at Virginia, is playing in her fourth Women’s North & South and finds herself making another deep run in a tournament that means so much to her.
“Since I won the Junior, winning the Women’s North & South makes it mean a little extra than just the title of the Women’s North & South,” said Redding, who is from nearby Concord. “There’s just so much incredible history here and to make my mark once…I’m just trying to do it again. To have my name on that wall in the building is…well, it would mean a lot.”
Redding rolled to a 5&4 win in her morning match, but struggled to find her game in the afternoon against Stephanie Lau. But Lau struggled as well, allowing Redding to grind her way to a 2-up lead through 9 despite shooting 39.
But Redding closed well, making birdie at 16 and then draining a 30-foot putt on 17 to close out the match.
It was a finish that Redding needed as she looks ahead to a quarterfinal rematch with Gillman, who beat Redding 7&6 in the same round in 2016.
Redding admitted being excited about a second chance against Gillman.
“I’ve been kind of waiting and ready for it,” she said. “I’m really excited to play her again. We’ve both got another year under our belts, and I’m excited about the golfer I’ve become over this past year. So I’m actually looking forward to it, whatever the outcome. I’m ready to play her again.”
Possibly looming in the semifinals could be 2015 Women’s North & South Runner-up Beth Wu, who rallied from 3-down through 8 holes in her Round of 16 match Southern Cal’s Allisen Corpuz. Wu came alive just in time, making birdies at 9, 10, 11 and 12 to take control of the match. A beautiful pitch to 2 feet on 16 led to another birdie to keep a 1-up lead, and Wu had her birdie conceded on 17 after a Corpuz bogey.
“I had a mental shift; I started the match as a bit of a hothead,” Wu, of Diamond Bar, California, admitted. “I had to take a breath and just remember the things I learned at school from my coaches and psychologists. It was good to come back like that.”
Wu will face Gillman’s Alabama teammate Lakareber Abe in the quarterfinals while Julienne Soo, who upset No. 2 seed Jaclyn Lee in the Round of 16, will take on Isabella Fierro. Aneka Seumanutafa, who won the 2017 Girls North & South Junior just last week, also advanced to the quarterfinals and will face Duke’s Sandy Choi.
ABOUT THE North & South Women's Amateur
The Women's North & South has drawn the top
amateur women from around the country. Three
rounds of stroke play followed by four rounds of
match play will determine the Champion.
The 96 player field will be cut to a 16 player
match play field and medalist honors. All stroke
match play rounds will be contested on Pinehurst
No. 2. The top 16 players who qualify for match
play will play two rounds a day until our
Nine of the last 12 North & South Women’s
Amateur champions have drawn paychecks as
members of the LPGA Tour. The equation is near
perfect. Win the North & South Am, go on to
professional success at the highest level.
North & South champions are among the legends
of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs,
Kirk Bell, Hollis Stacey, Brandie Burton, Brittany
Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.
Along with the Women's North & South,
Resort & Country Club annually plays host to the
Men's North & South, the Junior North & South,
and Senior Men's and Senior Women's North &
View Complete Tournament Information