Briana Chacon (USGA Photo)
Aspiring stars flock to Los Angeles from all over the world in their quest for glory. Briana Chacon
only had to travel 30 miles. The Whittier, Calif., native shattered the U.S. Women’s Amateur
36-hole scoring record, following her opening 66 with a sizzling 65 to earn medalist honors at Bel-Air Country Club.
Chacon’s two-day total of 131 is two better than the previous record, originally set by Mariel Galdiano in 2016 and matched by Lucy Li and Selin Hyun two years later. Andrea Lignell also shot 133 this year.
“Wow, I did not know that,” said Chacon, 21, a graduate student at the University of Oregon. “It's an honor and I'm just so thankful to be here this week with all my family and friends. I’m lucky that it's so close to my hometown, so I'm just really excited.”
Starting on the 10th hole, Chacon began with three consecutive pars, then rolled in birdies on three of her next four holes and went out in 31 – nearly 5-and-a-half strokes better than the scoring average on the more challenging back nine.
After the turn, Chacon eagled the par-5 first hole, then offset a bogey at No. 2 with a birdie at the par-3 fifth. A two-putt par on the ninth sealed the record.
Chacon’s record was nearly matched by Lignell on Tuesday afternoon, but the 22-year-old Swede settled for a 5-under 65 after a double bogey on No. 18.
The rising fifth-year senior from the University of Mississippi sprinted out of the gate with seven birdies over her first 15 holes but hit her drive into the bunker on the par-4 18th, eventually three-putting for a disappointing 6.
“Today was really solid,” said Lignell, who finished third at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April. “I was really good off the tee. I think I missed the fairway once and I just made a lot of those 10-to-15-foot putts that are really important to make if you want to shoot a low score.”
Gianna Clemente, 15, of Estero, Fla., continued her torrid summer with a 5-under 65 in Round 2 to earn the No. 3 seed. Clemente won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball in April with partner Avery Zweig, reached the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior last month and won the Junior PGA Championship last week.
On Tuesday, she bogeyed the 11th (her second hole), then made four birdies and an eagle the rest of the way.
“I started off with a bogey yesterday as well on my second hole,” said Clemente. “I just reminded myself that there's a lot of golf left. There are a lot of birdie holes left. I know that in my opinion, starting on the back is a lot more difficult. I made birdies on Nos. 17 and 18, then the eagle on No. 1 was pretty big to kind of keep the momentum going.”
Katie Cranston finished four back of Chacon, using a late front-nine run to earn the No. 4 seed. The 19-year-old from Canada made back-to-back eagles on Nos. 7 and 8, followed by a birdie on the ninth to power her 2-under 68 on Tuesday.
“It was crazy,” said Cranston, a rising sophomore at Auburn University. “The funny thing was after my round yesterday, those were the two holes, seven and eight, that I talked through with my coach here because I didn't really like my game plan. And then today, I don't know, everything went perfectly.”
Using a 58-degree wedge, Cranston holed out from 90 yards on the par-4 seventh hole, then hit a 5-iron to within 2 feet at the par-5 eighth for a kick-in eagle.
Others to advance to match play include Round 1 co-leader and UCLA rising junior Caroline Canales, reigning U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Kiara Romero, 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Yana Wilson and Anna Davis.
The cut for match play came at 4-over 144. A 10-for-9 playoff to determine the last match play spots will begin at 7 a.m. PT on Wednesday. The competitors include 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Jensen Castle and Charlotte Cantonis, of Tampa, Fla., who made a 25-foot birdie on her final hole to join the playoff.
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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