Thursday, January 10, 2013


                  KELSEY MACDONALD ... Last Orange Blossom Tour before she turns pro
                  (Image from the 2011 Vagliano Trophy match by Cal Carson Golf Agency)
Kelsey MacDonald is lying joint fourth after the first round of the South Atlantic Amateur (The Sally) women's tournament after roller-coaster, three-under-par 69 at Oceanside Country Club, Ormond Beach in Florida.
The Stirling University student and Nairn Dunbar GC member crammed seven birdies into her round (35-34), including four in a row from the 10th but she bogeyed three of the last five holes when set to challenge the joint leaders on 67, Cindy Feng (36-31), a 16-year-old originally from China, and Kelly Shon (34-33), also a junior. 
The 22-year-old Scot, playing on the Orange Blossom Tour for the last time - she intends turning professional later in the season, birdied the first, short fourth, 10th, 11th, long 12th, 13th and long 17th.
She bogeyed the short ninth, short 14th, short 16th and 18th.
Cindy Feng also had seven birdies, including four in a row from the 10th, and covered the last nine holes in only 31 shots
Joint leader Kelly Shon had eight birdies but three bogeys.
Stirling student Elidih Briggs, who will fly back to Scotland after this event to take up a PE teacher placement, is in joint 16th position with a 73 (39-34). A double bogey 6 at the second marred her card but she finished strongly with birdies at the 16th, 17th and 18th.
Annabel Dimmock, 16 year old Wentworth member, had a 74 (38-36) for a share of 19th place. She also had a double bogey 6 on her outward half - at the eighth -  but chalked up birdies at the fifth, ninth and 15th. 
Annabel was one under par for her last eight holes.
Hannah McCook (Grantown on Spey) was the third best Stirling student on the day with a round of 79 which put her in 48th place alongside Chloe Rogers (Braintree), who won an Olympic bronze medal with the GB women's hockey team last summer. She plays off four of a handicap at her Essex club.

Par 72 
Players from US unless stated
67 Cindy Feng, Kelly Shon
68 Shannon Aubert
69 Kelsey MacDonald (Stirling Univ), Krista Puisite
70 Alex Stewart, Kristie Odaiyar.

73 Eilidh Briggs (Stirling Univ) (T16)
74 Annabel Dimmock (Wentworth) (T19)
79 Hannah McCook (Stirling Univ), Chloe Rogers (Braintree) (T48)
84 Jordana Graham (Stirling Univ) (T62)
87 Mhairi McKay (Stirling Univ) (T75)
92 Georgina Gilling (Stirling Univ) (T85)  




ORMOND BEACH, Florida – Yueer “Cindy” Feng is one of those players who seemingly has been around forever, yet is only 16. Early success tends to prematurely age players.
Feng birdied four consecutive holes (Nos. 10-13)  at Oceanside Country Club to open the South Atlantic Amateur with a 5-under 67 on a mild, overcast day on Florida’s east coast. 
The Chinese teen is tied for the lead with Princeton University third-year student Kelly Shon in the second event of the annual Florida Orange Blossom Circuit.
After the round, Feng’s father, Delin, handed her a small container of oatmeal. There would be no burger and fries at Oceanside’s Babe Zaharias Cafe for this pair. Serious golf calls for serious food.
It’s difficult to say what will come of Feng, whose petite father is very much involved in her every step. When Cindy was asked what she thought of fellow countrywoman Shanshan Feng becoming the first Chinese player to win a major, last summer at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, her father, standing nearby, simply repeated Tiger’s name over and over, as if to say that Woods is always the answer.
At age 5, Feng played two holes with Woods back home in China at a pricey exhibition, and carried around a stuffed tiger. She first picked up a club at age 3 and was practising by 4 1/2. Tiger Woods and Ernie Els were the only names in golf she knew.
“My dad was this golf addict in China,” said Feng, telling stories of how he played night golf on a lighted 18-hole course. During the day, Delin would take Cindy along to work on her short game.
Feng didn’t speak English when she arrived in Florida at age 9. They moved so that she could take lessons from David Leadbetter. Last winter, Feng switched to Sean Foley, Woods’ swing instructor.
After moving to Orlando, Feng tore through the junior scene, winning six AJGA titles in 2008, most of which were part of the Junior All-Star series. By the end of 2010, she had won four AJGA invitationals and qualified for two U.S. Women’s Opens. She seemed poised to become the next big thing.
Then she got injured.
Her hip, her lower back, her wrist. It was a frustrating cycle of signing up for a tournament, only to pull out with injury. Feng switched instructors (and trainers), hoping to get stronger and stay healthy.
Last year at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, Feng advanced to the quarter-finals, one of her best showings of 2012. She’s no longer a favourite when she enters a field, but her name is known.
Feng said she hasn’t decided yet about going to college, though it’s difficult to imagine a girl who was groomed for the professional tour being given that kind of freedom. Feng turns 17 in February, and odds are great – from this writer's perspective, at least – that she’ll be at LPGA Q-School later this year.
If Feng were to win this week, it would be her first amateur title. Tiger Woods had a few of those,