Wake Forest All-American Rachel Kuehn is set
to make her fifth start in the U.S. Women's Amateur. (Chris Keane/USGA)
Here's a breakdown of the 156 golfers competing in the 121st U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship beginning on Monday at Westchester Country Club.
Lara Tennant (55, born 12/12/1966), Ina Kim-Schaad (38, born 9/22/1983), Clare Connolly (29, born 11/20/1992), Kyle Fraser (28, born 2/21/1993)
Cathy Zhang (12, born 5/20/2009), Rianne Mikhaela Malixi (14, born 3/10/2007), Ryleigh Knaub (14, born 12/21/2006)
Average Age of Field:
Field breakdown by age:
Age 11-15: 10
Age 16-20: 81
Age 21-25: 59
Age 26-30: 2
Age 31-35: 0
Age 36-55: 2
U.S. States Represented –
There are 30 states represented in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur: California (19), Texas (15), Florida (14), North Carolina (7), Georgia (4), Hawaii (4), South Carolina (4), New Jersey (4), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (3), Tennessee (3), Arizona (2), Indiana (2), Kentucky (2), Maryland (2), Mississippi (2), New York (2), Ohio (2), Utah (2), Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Colorado (1), Delaware (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (1)
There are 22 countries represented in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur: United States (108), Canada (6), People’s Republic of China (5), Chinese Taipei (5), Australia (4), Colombia (2), Germany (2), Malaysia (2), Mexico (2), Philippines (2), Scotland (2), Thailand (2), Argentina (1), Austria (1), Barbados (1), England (1), Italy (1), Japan (1), Republic of Korea (1), South Africa (1), Vietnam (1), Virgina Islands (1)
USGA Champions (6):
Savannah Barber (2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball), Ina Kim-Schaad (2019 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur), Erica Shepherd (2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior, 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball), Alexa Saldana (2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball), Lara Tennant (2018, 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur), Rose Zhang (2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur, 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior)
USGA Runners-up (1):
Bailey Davis (2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior)
Curtis Cup Team Members (2):
Rachel Heck (USA, 2021), Rose Zhang (USA, 2021)
Most U.S. Women’s Amateur Appearances (2021 included):
Brooke Seay (6), Alyaa Abdulghany (5), Rachel Heck (5), Rachel Kuehn (5), Erica Shepherd (5)
Ten players are in the top 30 of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ as of July 28:
No. 1 – Rose Zhang
No. 2 – Rachel Heck
No. 9 – Tsubasa Kajitani
No. 10 – Emma Spitz
No. 16 – Emilia Migliaccio
No. 21 – Yu-Chiang Hu
No. 23 – Rachel Kuehn
No. 28 – Megha Ganne
No. 29 – Aline Krauter
No. 30 – Alessia Nobilio
Players from New York (2):
Ina Kim-Schaad (Rhinebeck), Lauren Peter (Carmel)
Colleges with most active players:
Stanford (4), Arkansas (3), Auburn (3), Kentucky (3), Mississippi State (3), Ohio State (3), UCLA (3)
Played in 2021 U.S. Women’s Open (10):
Megha Ganne (T14, low amateur), Rachel Heck (T35), Gurleen Kaur (66), Jensen Castle (MC), Claire Choi (MC), Tsubasa Kajitani (MC), Aline Krauter (MC), Alexandra Swayne (MC), Tsai-Ching Tseng (MC), Rose Zhang (MC)
Caroline Craig, 20, of Sautee Nacoochee, Ga.
, is about to begin her junior year at the University of Georgia, where she earned SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2021. At age 16, she discovered she had melanoma skin cancer on her left leg and a few other pre-cancerous spots that required surgery and removal. Since then, she has used her platform to raise awareness and highlight the importance of early skin cancer screening for people of all ages and visiting the dermatologist. She is an alumna of The First Tee of Northwest Florida.
Courtney Dow, 23, of Frisco, Texas
, is currently finishing her graduate degree in sports management at Texas A&M. Earlier this summer, she accepted a full-time position with Learfield IMG Sports as a client services coordinator. She reached the Round of 32 in the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur, her best finish in eight USGA championships.
Kyle Fraser, 28, of Fort Worth, Texas
, played lacrosse at Stanford University from 2012-15, scoring 92 goals in 73 games and competing in three NCAA Tournaments with the Cardinal. After graduating with a degree in biomechanical engineering, she switched to golf and has been competing in amateur and Women’s All-Pro Tour events. Fraser works as a sports biomechanist for an applied sports science facility and is competing in her second USGA championship, having competed in this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.
Megha Ganne, 16, of Holmdel, N.J.
, captured the golf world’s attention in June when she played her way into the final group of the U.S. Women’s Open on Sunday, en route to a T14 finish, good for low amateur. Ganne qualified for her second consecutive U.S. Women’s Open by surviving a 3-for-1 playoff on May 10. Ganne lost in 19 holes to Stanford All-American Albane Valenzuela in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinals at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. She is a four-time Drive, Chip & Putt national finalist (runner-up in 14-15 Division in 2019). Ganne has verbally committed to attend Stanford in 2022 and is a product of The First Tee of Metropolitan New York.
Hanna Harrison, 23, of Dallas, Texas
, recently graduated from Dallas Baptist University, where she was a member of the NCAA D2 Women’s National Championship team. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harrison was able to stay for a fifth year of college golf. This year, she will be the graduate assistant coach for Dallas Baptist, while pursuing a masters in sports management, and hopes to one day coach a college golf team of her own. She made her USGA championship debut in April at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, where she and her partner lost in the Round of 32.
Rachel Heck, 19, of Memphis, Tenn.
, is a rising sophomore at Stanford University who won the 2021 Annika Award as the top collegiate golfer. She became the third player in women’s college history to sweep conference (Pacific 12), regional (Stanford Regional) and national titles (NCAAs), joining USC's Annie Park and Arizona's Marisa Baena. At Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., Heck became the first Stanford woman to win an NCAA title, and the ninth freshman to achieve the feat. Heck's 69.72 scoring average over 25 rounds is the lowest in NCAA women's golf history. Last August, Heck was the stroke-play medalist in the U.S. Women’s Amateur before losing in the Round of 16. She also was a quarterfinalist in the 2020 North & South Women’s Amateur. Heck was a five-time AJGA All-American and a two-time USA Today Player of the Year. In 2017, she was the youngest competitor in the U.S. Women’s Open, tying for 33rd at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Outside of golf, Heck participates in Air Force ROTC, and is a passionate painter.
Kayla Holden, 20, of Coral Springs, Fla.
, will begin her sophomore year at the University of Tennessee, where she competed in NCAA Regionals and finished T63. She grew up in and around the game as her father, Russ Holden, was Bernhard Langer’s coach and caddie for about 25 years. She is close with World Golf Hall of Fame member Dennis Walters, who is paralyzed from the waist down, and often assists him with his golf endeavors. Aside from having a PGA professional as a father, Kayla’s mother is an avid golfer and her brother, a former MLB pitcher, is an assistant golf professional at Apawamis Club, near Westchester Country Club. Competing in a U.S. Women’s Amateur has been a lifelong dream for Holden.
Tsubasa Kajitani, 17, of Japan
, will make her U.S. Women's Amateur debut after defeating Emilia Migliaccio in a sudden-death playoff to claim the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur in early April. Kajitani, No. 9 in the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking, competed in the 76th U.S. Women's Open at The Olympic Club this June and finished tied for 48th at the Amundi Evian Championship in July.
Emily Odwin, 17, of Barbados
, is playing in her second USGA championship, having recently competed in the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Growing up in a country with only four golf courses, Emily was one of only about 30 juniors in any given year who played golf competitively. She was introduced to the game by her father, who had never been exposed to the sport himself as a child. Emily competed in the 2019 Pan American Games, where as the youngest competitor in the field she finished T26.
Kennedy Swann, 23, of Austin, Texas
, won the Oregon Open Invitational in Sisters, Ore., on June 17, becoming the first female to win the event since it began in 1905. Swann, a quarterfinalist in the 2020 U.S. Women's Amateur at Woodmont Country Club, returned for a fifth year of eligibility at the University of Mississippi last fall and led the Rebels to their first National Championship title in school history in May. Swann went 3-0 in match play during the NCAA Championship and was the individual co-champion at the East Lake Cup earlier in the season. Swann's family, who drove an RV from Austin to last year's U.S. Women's Amateur in Maryland, will be driving it again to Rye, N.Y., for the championship.
Marissa Wenzler, 20, of Dayton, Ohio
, won the 121st Western Women's Amateur Championship in Park Ridge, Ill. on July 24. Wenzler, a rising junior at the University of Kentucky and one of three Wildcats in the field, helped Kentucky this past spring to its first NCAA Championship finals appearance in 29 years. She advanced to the first round of match play at the 2020 U.S. Women's Amateur and reached the quarterfinals in the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship in April.
Rose Zhang, 18, of Irvine, Calif.
, is the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, having defeated Gabriela Ruffels in a 38-hole final match last August in Maryland, and the reigning U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, having defeated Bailey Davis, 6 and 4, in Maryland earlier this month. She is currently No. 1 in the Women’s WAGR and won the 2020 McCormack Medal as the world’s leading amateur last September. Zhang has competed in three LPGA major championships, making the cut in two, including a T11 finish in the 2020 ANA Inspiration. She is also competing in this week’s Evian Championship. She has represented the United States on both the Junior Solheim Cup and Junior Ryder Cup teams. In 2020, she won the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, the Ping Invitational and the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Zhang finished T3 at this year’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
by Julia Pine, USGA Communications
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