They tried everything they could to finish Tuesday but the 11-for-8
playoff didn't end until Wednesday morning (USGA photo)
CHULA VISTA, CA (August 9, 2017) - It was the kind of day that ended in darkness, as the final stroke-play round in a USGA championship often does. This time, however, there were car headlights illuminating parts of San Diego Country Club
as tournament officials tried in vain to round out the U.S. Women’s Amateur match-play bracket before players came back to the course on Wednesday. After 36 holes of stroke play, an 11-for-8 playoff commenced. By the time the day was called for total darkness, five players still had to come back to play off for the final four slots.
Related: U.S. Women's Amateur: TV Times and Schedule of Play
That playoff began at 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, with Samantha Hutchison, Anne Taylor Hough, Chia Yen Wu and Latanna Stone squeaking through to the match-play bracket. Those four players will meet the top four seeds and now must try to stage something miraculous to reach the next round of match play.
Perhaps the best match that awaits from those four involves Latanna Stone
, who played her first Women’s Amateur in 2012 at the age of 10. She’ll draw Haley Moore
, the local player from Escondido, Calif., who charged to the first-round lead with a slew of family and friends following. Stone is a tough draw for Moore, the No. 3 seed.
As she sealed up stroke-play medalist honors on Tuesday afternoon -- long before the playoff commenced -- Shannon Aubert
also gave good reason for crowds at San Diego Country Club to join her gallery. Two things came out of Aubert’s mouth Tuesday afternoon after a 6-under 66 at San Diego Country Club that show how well-equipped she is to take on the kind of pressure that can come with the No. 1 seed in the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The first said a lot about the state of the Stanford senior’s game: “If I had a look at birdie, I made it, so that helped.”
She had 14 birdies on her way to a 9-under 135 total
and a four-shot cushion for her first USGA stroke-play medal. The second comment, perhaps more importantly, shows her understanding of the reset that will take place overnight in this tournament.
“Once you get to match play,” Aubert explained, “you have to respect all the competitors and know that it’s a brand new tournament. So, one or 64, it doesn’t really matter at this point.”
Aubert happens to be in the former slot, but it’s a good caution to consider in her match against UC Davis junior Samantha Hutchison of San Jose, Calif.
Already this summer, Aubert – who was born in France but grew into her game at the Annika Academy in Orlando, Fla. – won the Florida Women’s Amateur, another mixed stroke- and match-play event. She has played in the match-play final of the NCAA Championship two of the past three years. She put a point on the board for the Cardinal both times.
At 5 feet 4 inches tall, Aubert is sneaky fierce. She’ll play aggressively and with her foot on an opponent’s throat.
Behind Aubert, another Pac-12 player – and one who has experience winning matches dramatically – took the second seed with a 5-under 139 for 36 holes. Julianne Alvarez
scored the winning point in the University of Washington’s 2016 NCAA title and last month, chipped in at the 38th hole
to win the Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur. It was that kind of day again on the way to a second-round 68.
“My first birdie of the day I didn't actually use my putter, I chipped in on 15,” she said. “And then on 16, I drained a 40-footer, so I was like, well, this is going to be a good day. And continued kind of that rhythm on the back nine and holed some pretty good downhill sliders, which can be pretty tough on this golf course.”
Alvarez drew Taiwan’s Chia Wen Yu for the first round.
, who earned the No. 3 seed at San Diego Country Club, was 0-5 in NCAA matches as her Northwestern team made a run to final in May, eventually losing to Arizona State. She redeemed herself somewhat at the Women’s Western Amateur and North & South Women’s Amateur earlier this summer, but more match-play victories this week would go a long way toward finishing that redemption.
“I think maybe I'll play some holes a little bit more aggressively, but I feel like I've had more experience with match play this year, so I'm excited to go out there and play again,” she said in terms of a Round-of-64 game plan for Wednesday.
Lau, the No. 4 seed, faces Anne Taylor Hough, a junior at Virginia Tech.
The lineup of college-golf all-stars continues as you look down the bracket. It’s what we expect in the Women’s Amateur. Outside of the top seeds, Duke commit Erica Shepherd
-- not even a month removed from her U.S. Girls’ Junior victory
-- will meet incoming Texas freshman Agathe Laisne
, who last month won the European Ladies Amateur
A Stanford teammate of Aubert, Albane Valenzuela
, takes on Kent State bright spot Wad Phaewchimplee
of Thailand. Both players were explosive for their respective teams as freshmen (Phaewchimplee just completed her senior season for the Golden Flashes).
The college show-downs continue until the end of the day when Arizona stalwart Krystal Quihuis
takes on Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho
. Both players are coming off summer victories: Quihuis won the Women’s TRANS National Championship
while Kupcho defeated a stacked field in the Canadian Women’s Amateur