Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Youngsters dominate in inaugural USGA 

four-ball better-ball championship

BANDON, Oregon – No. 9 seeds Alyaa Abdulghany and Ellen Takada eliminated stroke-play medalists (leading qualifiers) Kendall Griffin and Athena Yang in Tuesday’s match-play quarter-finals of  the inaugural U.S. Women’s amateur four-ball, better-ball championship. Abdulghany and Takada join three other sides – Mika Liu and Rinko Mitsunaga; Robynn Ree and Hannah O’Sullivan; and Madelein Herr and Brynn Walker – in Wednesday morning’s semi-finals on the par-72 Pacific Dunes course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Californians Abdulghany, 16, of Newport Beach, and Takada, 17, of Irvine, lost the first hole to Griffin and Yang’s birdie.
 But they quickly squared the match with Griffin, 16, of Sebring, Florida, and Yang, 17, of Winter Haven, Florida, with a par on the second hole. Abdulghany and Takada took the lead for good with a birdie at the par-3 fifth, one of their six birdies, and ultimately captured a 4-and-3 win.
“We work on staying very consistent, and we tried not to make bogeys,” said Takada, who nailed a 6-foot birdie on No. 18 to win their Round-of-16 match against Veronica Joels and Morgan Goldstein. “She made birdies and I made birdies, so it was good.”

Liu, 16, of Beverly Hills, California, and Mitsunaga, 18, of Roswell, Georgia, faced a stern quarter-final test in No. 5-seeded Angel Yin, 16, of Arcadia, California, and Muni He, 15, from China. Yin and He led for the majority of the match, but Liu and Mitsunaga never let the deficit grow larger than 2 holes.
Liu’s clutch 10-foot birdie at the par-3 17th brought the match to all square, and 18 holes were not enough to decide a victor. Another Liu birdie, this one from 7 feet at the par-5 12th, earned them a 21-hole marathon win.
“I knew somebody had to make a birdie,” said Liu, who has verbally committed to Stanford University for 2017. “I missed (an) opportunity (on the 20th hole), and I was very upset. I just deleted all my thoughts and stayed focused and committed to my putt, and I made it. I was really overjoyed.”
Liu and Mitsunaga reached the quarter-finals by defeating Kathleen Scavo and Lucy Li, 2 and 1, in the morning’s Round of 16.

The average age of the championship competitors has steadily dropped since the start of the championship. While the full field had an average age of 33.7, the eight quarter-finalists have an average age of 16.9.
The 2015 U.S. Women’s amateur four-ball championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by five rounds of match play. . This championship is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association 
 6,005-yard, par-72 Pacific Dunes course at Bandon Dunes
SECOND ROUNDAthena Yang, Winter Haven, Floeis and Kendall Griffin, Sebring, Florida bt. Maria Fassi, Mexico, and Maria Balcazar, Mexico, 1 hole
Alyaa Abdulghany, Newport Beach, California and Ellen Takada, Irvine, California btVeronica Joels, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Morgan Goldstein, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1 hole.
Mika Liu, Beverly Hills, California and Rinko Mitsunaga, Roswell, Georgia bt Kathleen Scavo, Benicia, California., and Lucy Li, Redwood City, California, 2 and 1
Angel Yin, Arcadia, California, and Muni He, China bt Courtney Dow, Frisco, Texas, and Brooke McDougald, The Woodlands, Texas, 8 and 6
Robynn Ree, Redondo Beach, California, and Hannah O'Sullivan, Chandler, Ariz. bt Abby Portyrata, Richmond, Virginia and Lauren Greenlief, Oakton, Virginia7 and 5
Katie Miller, Jeannette, Pennsylvania and Amber Marsh Elliott, Greensboro, North Carolina. bt Megan Carter, Blackshear, Ga., and Lauren Lightfritz, Suwanee, Georgia 2 and 1
Madelein Herr, New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Brynn Walker, St. Davids, Pennsylvania bt. Carolyn Zhao, San Diego, California and Brooke Seay, San Diego, California at 19th.
Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park, Fla., and Dawn Woodard, Greer, S.C., bt. Lila Barton, Dallas, Texas, and Marissa Mar, El Macero, Calif., 3 and 1
Abdulghany and Takada bt Yang and Griffin 4 and 3
Liu and Mitsunaga bt Yin and He at 21st
Ree and O'Sullivan bt Miller and Elliott 4 and 3
Herr and Walker bt Stasi and Woodard  5 and 3

7 a.m. – Abdulghany and Takada v. Liu and Mitsunaga.
7:15 a.m. – Ree and O'Sullivan v Herr and Walker