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U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball: Top seeds reach round of 16
Leigh Chien (left) and Anna Huang (USGA/Chris Keane)
Leigh Chien (left) and Anna Huang (USGA/Chris Keane)

The two sides who shared medalist honors in the 7th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship had little trouble winning their Round-of-32 matches on Friday at Grand Reserve Golf Club.

Fifteen-year-olds Chloe Kovelesky, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Yani Wilson, of Henderson, Nev., the top seeds in the bracket, ousted fellow teens Sawyer Brockstedt, 16, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Ellison Lundquist, 14, of Furlong, Pa., 4 and 3, while second-seeded Leigh Chien, 16, of Irvine, Calif., and Anna Huang, 13, of Canada, cruised to a 5-and-4 victory over 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Lauren Greenlief, 31, of Ashburn, Va., and Alexandra Austin, 29, of Burke, Va.

Kovelesky, a 2021 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier, and Wilson, a two-time Drive, Chip & Putt age-group champion, lost the opening hole to a Lundquist 50-foot birdie, but rallied to tie the match with a birdie on the 260-yard third hole. They won three consecutive holes from No. 6 to take control of the contest.

“Overall, I feel like we started warming up kind of towards the end [of our match],” said Wilson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 53 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®. “We just kind of kept shooting at pins and making putts.”

Next up for the top seeds are 17-year-olds Kaitlyn Schroeder, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Bailey Shoemaker, of West Edmeston, N.Y. Schroeder, a quarterfinalist in the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, and Shoemaker, a past DCP finalist, eliminated past DCP finalist Vanessa Borovilos, 15, of Canada, and 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinalist Cara Heisterkamp, 16, of Westlake, Ohio, 3 and 2.

Chien and Huang won five straight holes, two with birdies, to break open their Round-of-32 encounter. They were the equivalent of 3 under par, with the usual match-play concessions through 14 holes.

Next up for the No. 2 seeds are University of Kentucky teammates Laney Frye and Maria Villanueva.

Third-seeded Yilin (Angela) Liu, 16, of Irvine, Calif., and Charissa Shang, 18, of Calabasas, Calif., built a 5-up lead at the turn against fellow Southern California teens Frances Kim (Rolling Hills Estates) and Nikki Oh (Torrance) and posted a 3-and-2 win. The duo birdied all four par-3 holes, including a match-clinching 2 on No. 16.

No. 8 seeds Gianna Clemente, 14, of Warren, Ohio, and Avery Zweig, 15, of McKinney, Texas, birdied their final two holes in rallying to defeat Californians Michelle Ho, 15, of San Ramon, and Michelle Woo, 14, of Fremont, in 19 holes. Clemente-Zweig, who lost in the semifinals of last year’s championship at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, were 1 down going to the 18th hole before Zweig converted from 6 feet for birdie on the par 5. Clemente made an 8-footer on the par-4 19th hole, and Ho/Woo had a chance to extend the match but missed from just inside 8 feet.


Meghan Stasi (left) and Dawn Woodard
“I was expecting her to make her putt on top of me,” said Clemente. “That's just how match play works. That's just the mindset I had all day, and they were making putts left and right all day. I think we were both shocked [she missed]. It was a great comeback for sure.”

Four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 43, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Dawn Woodard, 47, of Greenville, S.C., the oldest side in this week’s field and the only tandem to compete in all seven U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Balls, eliminated New Jersey teenagers and No. 4-seeded Megan Meng, of Pennington, and Angelina Tolentino, of Mount Laurel, 2 and 1. Deadlocked through 12 holes, Stasi-Woodard won holes 13 (birdie) and 14 (par) and matched pars with their opponents to close them out.

Another mid-amateur side, Kelsey Chugg, 30, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Julia Potter-Bobb, 34, of Indianapolis, Ind., rallied from 3 down after nine holes to oust Wake Forest teammates Julia McLaughlin, of Princeton, N.J., and Georgia Ruffalo, of Tampa, Fla., in 19 holes. Chugg, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, recovered from a poor drive by knocking her approach to 20 feet on the first extra hole and converting the birdie putt. Potter-Bobb is a two-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion (2013, 2016).

This is the first USGA championship being contested in a U.S. territory. The Puerto Rico Golf Association is one of 58 Allied Golf Associations supported by the USGA.

What’s Next

The first match on Saturday begins at 6:50 a.m., with the quarterfinals scheduled to start at 12:30. The semifinals and 18-hole championship match are scheduled for Sunday.

Notable

The USGA moved the tees up on the par-4 third hole to make it drivable at 260 yards. The hole measured 334 yards during stroke play. The par-3 11th hole measured just 101 yards on Friday, 53 yards shorter than it played during stroke play.

Four matches went extra holes on Friday, including the aforementioned ones. The duo of Sydney Hackett and Melanie Walker birdied the par-5 18th hole and parred No. 19 to edge Kaylee Chen and Morgan Miller. New Albany (Ohio) High School teammates Kary Hollenbaugh and Anna Ritter parred the 19th hole to defeat Sophie Linder and 2021 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier Karoline Tuttle.

Even though they were eliminated in the Round of 32 on Friday, Sawyer Brockstedt and Ellison Lundquist had already won big. Last summer, with the help of their parents and others, the duo raised $70,000 for the Alzheimer’s Foundation through their Ace Cup/Battle of the Beach golf event held at Kings Creek Country Club in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The duo is hoping to raise even more money in 2022. The charity means a lot to Brockstedt, whose grandmother has the disease.

Twins Jessica and Sarah Spicer are the lone sister tandem remaining after Claire and Grace Liu were eliminated on Friday by Georgians Thienna Huynh and Sara Im. The Spicers completed their eligibility at Virginia Tech last spring.

by David Shefter, USGA (Joey Geske, USGA, contributed to the story.)

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ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball

The U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA championship, was played for the first time in 2015 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon. It immediately became one of the USGA's most popular tournaments. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those women with a Handicap Index of 14.4 or lower. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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