Craig, Lehigh sisters are record-setting medalists at U.S. Women's Four-Ball
USGA Photo
USGA Photo

They say everything is bigger in Texas. That slogan certainly is apropos for what transpired on Sunday in the second and final round of stroke play at the 9th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Oak Hills Country Club.

Records were flying like a Black Friday sale. Leading the way were two sets of dynamic sisters: Caroline and Catie Craig of Sautee Nacoochee, Ga., and Loveland, Colo., natives Katelyn and Lauren Lehigh.

The Craig duo, which shared the 18-hole lead with twins Janae and Jasmine Leovao, backed up their opening-round, 8-under-par 63 with a 65 for a 14-under-total of 128. The Lehigh tandem registered one of four 9-under 62s on Sunday to reach 128, and shatter the previous 36-hole championship mark of 130 set by Faith Choi and Aneka Seumanutafa five years ago at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.

They finished two strokes better than three other sides, including 2024 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier Asterisk Talley, 15, of Chowchilla, Calif., and 17-year-old Sarah Lim, of Saratoga, Calif. Also posting 12-under 130 were college assistant coaches Addie Baggarly (University of Louisville), 24, of Clarksville, Tenn., and Kendall Griffin (Indiana University), 25, of Sebring, Fla.; and 2024 Georgia Southern signee Mary Miller, 18, of Savannah, Ga., and 2024 Georgia Southern graduate Abby Newton, 22, of Statesboro, Ga.

Two other sides posted 11-under 131: 2021 champions Alexa Saldana, 20, of Mexico, and Savannah Barber, 20, of Fort Worth, Texas, and the 20-year-old Leovao sisters from Oceanside, Calif.

While the forecast called for rain and possible thunderstorms, the day remained overcast and humid with very little breeze, allowing for great scoring.

Neither of the two record-setting sister duos had any idea they were making history. But in the past two seasons, Catie Craig has made her mark at Western Kentucky, becoming the first player to win the Conference USA individual title (2023) and qualify for regionals in consecutive years (2023-24). Earlier this spring, she also established the 18-, 36- and 54-hole school scoring marks at WKU’s tournament. Caroline Craig, who transferred to Indiana after four years at the University of Georgia, helped the Hoosiers win their first Big 10 title in 26 years while sharing the individual championship with two other players.

On Sunday, however, they got off to a sluggish start with a bogey on the par-3 second hole. Catie then converted a 20-foot, uphill birdie on the third hole, and Caroline followed with three consecutive birdies. They added three more on Nos. 10, 14, and 15.

Caroline Craig is ranked No. 229, and Catie Craig is ranked No. 214 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Women's Rankings. 

“This field is great,” said Caroline. “There are so many amazing players, so we knew we had to make as many birdies as we possibly could.”

Catie, who reached the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, added, “I wasn’t thinking about the leaderboard. I was just having fun with her.”

The Lehigh duo also had no idea where they stood on the leaderboard. They just knew they were playing well. Lauren, a 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinalist at Chambers Bay who just graduated from the University of New Mexico, where she established a school single-season stroke average mark of 71.67, stuffed her approach on the par-4 17th to 2 feet for an easy birdie.

Then little sister Katelyn, a rising junior at Fresno State, converted a 15-footer on the par-3 closing hole. It was only when informed by a USGA official that they were record-setting co-medalists that they understood the magnitude of their accomplishment.

“We’ve done nothing as cool as this,” said Katelyn, who won her lone collegiate tournament last September in Utah.

Said Lauren: “Everything kind of went our way today. It was just smooth and easy.”

Baggarly and Griffin, a six-time U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball participant who earned medalist honors in the inaugural championship in 2015, were trending towards medalist honors when they got to 8 under for the day after Baggarly, who played at Florida and Baylor, chipped in for birdie on No. 12.

Two holes earlier, Griffin, a former standout at both Louisiana State and Louisville, holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle on the par-5 10th. She made five birdies and an eagle.

But they both missed the green on the par-3 13th, resulting in a bogey, and Griffin three-putted No. 16, leading to another bogey.

Miller, the 2023 Georgia 3A high school individual champion from Savannah Christian, and Newton played alongside the college assistants, fed off the momentum of each other’s stellar play. Miller had seven birdies on her own ball in the team’s 62.

“Whenever someone is making birdies, you want to make birdies with them,” said Newton. [Mary] just tore it up today.”

Talley, the 2024 Sage Valley Invitational winner and member of the USGA’s inaugural U.S. National Junior Team, and Lim, who plans to attend Princeton in 2025, also fed off their fellow competitors, combining with 2023 quarterfinalists and Sam Houston State teammates Amelia Guo and Grace Jin to shoot 15 under par. They held the clubhouse lead for medalist honors most of the day. Guo and Jin shot a 65 to share 11th at 9-under 133.

A pair of 16-year-old Greensboro, Ga., residents, Kallyn Black and Lili Nelson, shared ninth at 10-under 132 with New Mexico State teammates Emma Kaisa Bunch, of Denmark, and Alexandria Armendariz, of Las Cruces, N.M.

Black came into this event fresh off winning an American Junior Golf Association event in Owensboro, Ky., while Bunch won five times this season for the Aggies, including the Conference USA Championship and was named among the 10 players on the Annika Award watchlist for being the top player in collegiate women’s golf.

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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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