Sophia Schubert with the Robert Cox Trophy (USGA photo)
CHULA VISTA, CA (August 13, 2017) - For the first time since the mid-1990s, the University of Texas can claim the U.S. Women’s Amateur champion. Longhorn senior Sophia Schubert
got an early lead and kept her foot on the gas Sunday in the scheduled 36-hole final with Stanford sophomore Albane Valenzuela
Related: U.S. Women's Am; Schubert, Valenzuela to Meet in the Final
It was a long week ending in an emotional victory for Schubert, 21, and her family, but that sums up the experience for most USGA champions. Schubert’s mother, Delisa, walked in the gallery through all of her daughter’s matches throughout the week. Her college coach Ryan Murphy carried the bag, and gave the humble Schubert the boost she perhaps needed to believe in her game. Schubert is a perfectionist, but as it turned out, it was exactly what she needed to be at San Diego Country Club
As Schubert said on the eve of the championship match, “I feel like I hold myself to a really high standard, and I am my biggest critic, and that sometimes is not very good. I mean, Coach, I think he thinks my swing was a little better than it actually was.”
Schubert’s father Bill was back home in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the week, unable to come because of work. Schubert admitted that it was killing her dad to miss this, the year’s biggest event, because of work. Normally, he’s a staple in her gallery.
The Texas senior, who transferred to Austin from Auburn back in 2015 after her freshman season, came out of the gate with birdie on the par-4 first to start the day. That set up an important detail for the day: Schubert would never trail. There was a birdie at No. 5 then another at No. 10 and by the time the two broke for lunch, Schubert was already 4 up. Still, Schubert knows you can never let up in match play.
“Being ahead is -- I think it's really good, but it can change so quickly, and so I just couldn't get too happy because I knew that Albane is a great player, and it could change so fast,” she said.
Valenzuela’s lone birdie of the day came at the 19th, right after the break. It was an uncharacteristically slow day for Valenzuela, who represented Switzerland this time last year at the Olympics. She entered the week ranked No. 17 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Women's Amateur Rankings
to Schubert’s 31st position.
Valenzuela was as graceful in defeat Sunday as she always is in victory. She continued to fight even when 4 down at the halfway point, and said it’s hard to have regrets when you approach it that way.
“I won't deny it, it's hard to lose,” she said. “I don't like losing. I think when you -- I came close twice, but I also -- I'm close to winning a big one, and I know my game is there, and eventually it will come. I don't know how many years. Maybe it's going to be next week. Maybe it's going to be next year. Who knows. I'm just going to stay patient, keep on playing, because it works, and so just keep doing the same thing.”
Valenzuela drew a lot of crowd support throughout the week with younger brother Alexis on the bag. The two kept smiling even when it wasn’t going their way.
Family was an important part of the journey for Schubert, too, but college ties have also generated quite a bit of pride.
“So many people from Austin have contacted me and said they're rooting for me, so it means the world to me to have done this for them and with my coach on the bag,” she said.
On this week at the Women’s Amateur, Schubert had to overcome a lack of confidence in her putting. Murphy helped her with speed on the greens, and with reads.
As Schubert’s college career comes to a close over the next year, this victory will open several doors. Schubert now has a spot in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, and likely three other LPGA majors: the Evian Championship, ANA Inspiration and Ricoh Women’s British Open. A spot on the 2018 U.S. Curtis Cup team could be on the table, as well as a budding professional career.
“I've always wanted to go pro, but this really did it for me. Now I'm going to remain an amateur just to play in these events that I'm exempt in, and I think that'll be an incredible experience for me.”
ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur
The U.S. Women's Amateur, the third
the USGA championships, was first played
at Meadowbrook Club in Hempstead, N.Y.
event is open to any female amateur who
USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4.
Women's Amateur is one of 14 national
championships conducted annually by the
10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
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