Rachel Kuehn on No. 13 at Woodmont CC (USGA)
Even as tropical storm Isaias bears down on the greater Washington D.C. area, the show went on at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland.
The morning wave caught a break as the rain from Isaias did not arrive until early afternoon. Among those in the morning wave was defending champion Gabriela Ruffels (USC). Paired with red hot North & South winner Rachel Kuehn (Wake Forest) and Western winner Brigitte Thibault (Fresno State), Ruffles stayed steady as she carded an even-par 72.
“There was extra pressure, extra nerves, especially with the whole year that's been going on,” Ruffels told the USGA. “It's been a long wait to get here, but I'm happy with how I did today and how I handled those first-round nerves.”
Kuehn kept her torrid pace as she holds a share lead following the first round. Posting a 4-under 68, Kuehn knocked home six birdies and two bogeys to hold a two-way split as the field gets ready for the final 18 holes of medal play. Coming off of back-to-back major wins (North & South and the LNGA), Kuehn will definitely be one to keep our eyes on as the week progresses.
“I feel in control over the golf ball,” Kuehn said. “It's just a confidence thing, and I'm putting pretty well right now. I've been glad to be able to put myself in position to make some birdies and then being able to convert some of those.”
Sitting atop the leaderboard with Kuehn is Riley Smyth (Virginia). Smyth was bogey-free until the par-3 14th where she dropped a shot. Gaining it back on the par-4 17th, she is in prime position with 18-holes remaining before the event flips to match-play.
Both Kuehn and Smyth are North Carolina natives and playing in their first U.S. Women's Amateur. Rookies make up about 40% of the field, but do not let that be confused with poor play. Kuehn and Smyth are just two examples of elite players in the event that just so happen to be making their debut.
The second round, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will be postponed until Wednesday as weather from Isaias forcing a long rain delay Monday.
With the conclusion of play on Wednesday, the field will be cut to 64 and the format will switch over to match-play. Further schedule details will be released at a later time.
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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