Benedetta Moresco (USGA Photo)
The USGA provided the $11M purse and world-class venue, and the players did the rest. The championship had its first American winner in seven years in Allisen Corpuz, a life-changing performance by Bailey Tardy (bio/amateur profile), and amateurs from Italy, Ireland, the USA, and Canada get in the mix on the weekend.
Aine Donegan of Ireland lit up the leaderboard with a first round 69 and continued to lead all amateurs for 54 holes And that was despite a quintuple bogey 9 on the 8th hole on Saturday, after getting to 2-under on the tournament with three birdies on the first seven holes. Hats off to the Aine (pronounced An-ya) for posting 37 on the back nine and shooting 75 on the day.
When things wrapped up on Sunday, it was Benedetta Moresco of Italy who finished the tournament as the low amateur. Moresco posted 73 in the final round to shoot 8-over, while Donegan was one shot behind her after a round of 77 and 9-over tournament total. Amari Avery of California was the only American amateur to make the cut -- she finished at 10-over while Monet Chun of Canada was 12-over.
ROUND THREE RECAP
Aine Donegan shot a 3 over 75 to stay in the top 20 as she heads into the final round. Donegan sits T19 with nine other golfers at 4 over par for the tournament.
With nine other women tied with her, Donegan has the chance to make a move on Sunday, however, she sits 11 shots back of leader Nasa Hataoka.
Donegan, unfortunately, made a nine on No. 8, hitting two balls in the penalty area, also known as the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean to the right of the green. Amazingly, she made four birdies through the round to help recover from that. How many every day golfers could shoot 75 at Pebble Beach in a U.S. Open with a 9?
It was not a great day for the other three amateurs in the field, as Monet Chun and Benedetta Moresco are tied at T45 at 7 over par and Amari Avery shot a 6 over 78 and falls to T57 and 9 over for her tournament.
ROUND TWO RECAP
After 36 holes, four amateurs will be playing the weekend at the U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach.
Donegan leads all amateurs at T11 after her second round 4 over 76. Donegan was the surprise of the first round, shooting a 3 under 69 to finish the first round just one shot of the pace.
Donegan was 1 under through her first six holes today, but struggled on the way into the clubhouse, shooting a 39 on the back nine.
Moresco had one of the more impressive first rounds, shooting a bogey free 2 under 70. She started her second round on hole 10 and shot a 41 on her front nine (the back nine of the course). She was able to get it back on track, shooting even par through her final nine holes to finish the second round at T26.
Chun had an impressive second round of just 1 over 73 to climb the leaderboard as most golfers were moving backwards on the leaderboard and now sits at T26.
Avery struggled to keep the momentum going from her first round as she followed her 2-under 70 with a second round 5 over 77. Because of her stellar first round, she still made the cut with ease and sits at T26.
ROUND ONE RECAP
Aine Donegan shot a 3-under 69 to head into the second round tied for second place and as the low amateur thus far.
The rising junior at LSU started slow, making two bogeys on her first two holes. However, a hole out on the par-4 15th from 96 yards for eagle jumpstarted her round in the right direction.
"I hit the shot and I knew it was going to be good and it just bounced, bounced and then it was back to even and we just kind of started again and it made me more comfortable," Donegan said.
She birdied holes 2, 4, 5 and 6 on the front nine to get all the way to 4-under par. She finished 3-under par after bogeying the ninth hole.
"The three holes I birdied I had the same yardage into the hole so that is my new favorite yardage," Donegan said.
Donegan added "I had a good feeling of where the ball was going all day which was great because that is not a feeling you have all the time in golf."
Benedetta Moresco from Italy and Amari Avery of California both shots round of 2-under 70 to sit tied for eighth place.
"It was a very solid round," Moresco said. "It is a very tough course and I managed to make a couple birdies. I missed in the right spot."
Moresco added "My putter was on fire today so I managed to make some up and downs."
Moresco finished with two birdies and played bogey free golf.
Avery recorded four birdies and two bogeys en route to her round of 70.
"It was pretty simple," Avery said about her round. "My ball striking was really good and I knew I had to do that in order to play well today."
Avery added "I thought I put myself in all the right positions."
Monet Chun (Canada) and Farah O'Keefe (USA) both shot 2-over 74 and sit tied for 41st place.