Jennifer Kupcho (Wake Forest photo)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (July 24, 2018) – Jennifer Kupcho
’s attempt at a Canadian Women’s Amateur title defense began easily enough with a course-record 64 at Marine Drive Golf Club. Kupcho, who also won the individual title at this spring’s NCAA Women’s Championship, had seven birdies in her opening round of 7 under as well as an eagle at the par-5 13th.
If Kupcho is feeling a bit of déjà vu to last year’s event, no one could blame her. The Denver, Colo., native opened with 65 on her way to a five-shot victory a year ago, but on Tuesday, there was more to the story.
Despite the low round, Kupcho hardly separated herself from the field. She is only two shots ahead of Yealimi Noh
of Concord, Calif., and Dylan Kim
of Sachse, Texas. Each player only had one bogey Tuesday on her way to a 5-under 66.
Kim and Noh signed for 66 while Kupcho was still on the course. Their rounds stood as the course record until Kupcho bettered them. The initial course record was a 4-under 68, set by Annika Sorenstam in 1992 when Marine Drive co-hosted the World Amateur Team Championships in Vancouver. Sorenstam won the individual title.
“I was hitting a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and just made a lot of putts. I was making putts from everywhere,” said Kupcho. “It’s a narrow course so I just tried to keep it straight. The course was really scorable. I was surprised from the practice round yesterday, it seemed like it was going to be difficult, but today I came out and it was just a really scoreable course."
Noh finished her first round less than 48 hours after prevailing in the weather-chopped U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. She had to play 49 on the final day, 33 of which were against Alexa Pano, 13, in the final match. The week before that, Noh won the Girls Junior PGA Championship after she went 24 under for 72 holes and didn’t make a bogey until the back nine on the last day.
If Kupcho, who also played on the victorious Curtis Cup and Palmer Cup teams, is among the hottest college players right now, then Noh is certainly one of the hottest juniors.
Kim is also a powerful player of whom to take notice. She recently completed her first season on the Arkansas roster after transferring from Baylor.
Alyaa Abdulghany, who will be a sophomore at USC, and Gina Kim, who will be a freshman at Duke, round out the American contingent at the top of the leaderboard. Both opened with 4-under 4-under 67.
A pair of Canadians, Naomi Ko and Tiffany Kong, are tied for sixth at 2 under behind them. Women’s Western Amateur champion Emilee Hoffman is also part of the group in sixth, and so is Julie Houston, a Texas-San Antonio player who made it to the Round of 16 at the Women’s Western.
ABOUT THE Canadian Women's Amateur
72 hole stroke play championship with a cut to the
70 and ties after two rounds.
This competition is open to female amateur golfers
are members of a golf club belonging to Golf Canada
holds a Gold membership with
Golf Canada or clubs in other countries, which are in
good standing with their respective Associations.
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