ANWA: Lottie Woad overcomes slow start, holds two shot lead as play resumes Saturday
Lottie Woad leads by two shots with Augusta National waiting (Chloe Knott Photo)
Lottie Woad leads by two shots with Augusta National waiting (Chloe Knott Photo)

A windy, firm Champions Retreat got a bit of revenge on Thursday as scores ballooned and bogeys were far more common than birdies. An Englishwoman replaced a Scotswoman at the top of the leaderboard as Lottie Woad shot 71 to hold a two-shot lead heading into the final round on Saturday at Augusta National.

It was an inauspicious round for Woad. After shooting a 4-under 68 in the first round, she made a double bogey on the opening hole of her second round. She played the remaining eight holes in even par, notching two birdies and two bogeys. A birdie on nine was the springboard Woad needed because she played the back nine in 32 strokes.

Usually, the front nine is easier,” Woad said, “So going into the back nine, I was a little concerned.”

Instead, Woad made the back nine seem easy. She shot a 4-under 32, which she capped off when she poured in a birdie putt on her final hole of the day.

“It was one of the best 1-under's I’ve ever shot,” Woad said.

She's had plenty of practice in the wind.

"I think growing up in England, you've got to be," Woad said when asked if she's a good wind player. We play a lot of links golf, so I was pretty much just playing a lot of knock-down shots today, which I'm pretty comfortable with. So I usually like it when it's windy. I feel like it suits me."

Woad is currently ranked No. 7 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Women's Rankings.

It’s been a winter and spring full of close calls for Woad. She pulled a hamstring, cut her finger while cutting a bagel, and hit herself in the head with a four wood. Each injury left the sophomore at risk of missing events for Florida State.

Woad will sleep on the lead for two nights with 18 holes remaining, a quirk of ANWA. She's been in pressure-packed moments before.

"Probably either when I was in the final at the British Girls. That was kind of my first big win as a junior, so either that final or the five-foot putt I had last year to make the cut," Woad said. I was pretty nervous over that one."

If Woad finishes the job on Saturday, she’d become the third English-born golfer to win a tournament at Augusta National, joining Nick Faldo and Danny Willett. 

A pair of Americans sit two shots behind Woad. 16-year-old Gianna Clemente shot 1-under 71 on Thursday.

“This is probably some of the most swirly wind I've ever played in,” Clemente said. “It's very, very difficult. But it just takes a lot of patience, and I backed off a couple of times today if I was uncomfortable. You just got to wait for the right moment to hit.”

The 2023 U.S. Four-Ball champion made back-to-back birdies twice during her round, including on her final two holes of the day to climb into the lead at the time. She made five birdies overall.

Having a familiar face on the bag has helped Clemente this week.

“I think it helps to have my dad on the bag. I trust him a lot,” Clemente said. “I'm going through our numbers and he's going through them. We both kind of just find if there is a difference and maybe we disagree on something, we just find a middle ground.”

In her second ANWA, Clemente admitted her expectations were higher than they were last year.

“I said from the very beginning last year that my goal was just to make the cut,” she said. “I wanted to play Augusta National under competition so badly. It didn't really -- I'm not going to say it didn't matter where I was, but I just wanted to play it under competition.”

This year, in second place, she’s feeling a little bit differently.

“I feel like coming into this week I wanted a little bit more than that. Obviously to make the cut and play it in competition again, but I think maybe just being in one of the leading groups and having the bigger crowds and more pressure. I think I wanted a little bit more out of this week.”

With the challenging conditions, every player had to remain patient and keep a positive mindset. Maisie Filler, who shot 4-under 68 on Wednesday, shot a 39 on her opening nine holes and fell to one-under par. A string of birdies on her closing stretch helped her bounce back and shoot 1-over 73 and sit two shots behind Woad.

The round one leader, Hannah Darling, shot a 5-over 77. After making eight birdies on Wednesday, she only mustered one on Thursday. Three bogeys in her final four holes sent her backward into a tie for fifth place.

“I don’t think we hit that many bad shots today,” Darling said. “But we hit a lot of shots that were made to look bad by the wind.”

How is Darling going to reset before a practice round on Friday and then a competitive round on Saturday.

“I've got two fishing rods in the back of my car at the hotel and there is a big pond close to our hotel that I saw people fishing at the other day,” Darling said. “I might go fish a little bit and just take a little bit of time off, just get my focus on something else.”

Joining Darling at one-under par is World No. 1 Ingrid Lindblad. The second round was an interesting one for Lindblad. Starting her round on the tenth hole, Lindblad hole Nos. 12-14 in four over par. Aside from that, Lindblad mad pars on the other 15 holes, including 13 in a row to finish her round.

University of Virginia’s Amanda Sambach is two-under par. A double bogey on the ninth and then a bogey on ten could have sent her into a tailspin.

“Honestly, it's just really important to stay level-headed out here, and I think I did a really good job of that after that hole. I made bogey on 10, so I was 3-over on those two holes. But after that just kind of realized that everyone is playing in the tough conditions. If I can just scratch out pars coming in, I'd be fine.”

She made four pars, two birdies, and two bogeys on the last eight holes. The emotions of making the cut aren’t lost on Sambach, who suffered a playoff loss in 2021 when they only allowed 30 players to move onto Augusta National. Now, they bring the top 30 and ties.

“I'm on the verge of tears every time. This year and last year, just making it and being able to play the final day. It means a lot,” Sambach said.

Only five players shot under par on Thursday after 28 players signed for scores of 71 or better on Wednesday. The cut ballooned to three-over par, and a handful of big names made the cut on the number - Rachel Kuehn, Amari Avery, and Emilia Migliaccio will play on Saturday. Maria Jose Marin saved par from a green side bunker on the 18th to make the cut on the number. Asterisk Talley, the youngest player in the field and the Junior Invitational winner at Sage Valley in March, played her final five holes in four-over par, but hit a clutch four-footer on the last to make the cut.

Junior Invitational at Sage Valley: Binaghi, Talley win in starkly different ways

Every player in the field will play Augusta National tomorrow, and the final round will be played on Saturday. Golf Channel’s “Live From the Masters” will air on Friday, April 5 at Augusta National to provide coverage of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, and the Masters Tournament. On Saturday, the final round will air from noon to 3 p.m. EST.

Results: Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA)
1EnglandLottie WoadEngland150068-71-69=208
2FLBailey ShoemakerDade City, FL100070-73-66=209
3SwedenIngrid LindbladSweden70067-76-69=212
4CAJasmine KooCerritos, CA70069-74-70=213
T5FLCasey WeidenfeldPembroke Pines, FL70072-72-70=214

View full results for Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA)

ABOUT THE Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA)

54-hole stroke-play tournament that will include a 72 player international field. The field will include winners of other recognized tournaments while also utilizing the Women's World Amateur Golf Rankings.

The first two rounds will be played at Champions Retreat Golf Club before the field is cut to the low 30 and ties for the final round at Augusta National.

The tournament will be played the week before the Masters, concluding on Saturday.

View Complete Tournament Information

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube