ST. LOUIS – Amelia Lewis beat stroke-play medalist Danielle Kang 2 and 1 on Wednesday in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur, while 14-year-old sensation Alexis Thompson rolled to an easy victory in steamy conditions at Old Warson.
Lewis, the 18-year-old Florida recruit from Jacksonville, Fla., won a six-player playoff Tuesday for the final spot in the 64-player match-play field.
“God gave me a second chance with a playoff yesterday, so I am going to try to make the most of it this week,” Lewis said.
She’s fighting a respiratory infection that forced her to go to a hospital Monday.
“I’m like on three different drugs,” said Lewis, the North and South Women’s Amateur winner last month at Pinehurst No. 2. “I’m trying to focus.”
Lewis won with a two-putt par on the par-3 17th after the 16-year-old Kang, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., hit into a greenside bunker en route to a triple bogey.
“She played really well today,” Kang said. “It was a good match.”
Thompson, the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion from Coral Springs, Fla., routed Sun Gyoung Park of Vail, Ariz., 7 and 6.
“I drove the ball well and I just hit it a lot better,” said Thompson, who had rounds of 76 and 74 in stroke play. “I was just thankful that I made it to match play.”
Kimberly Kim, the 17-year-old Hawaii player who won the 2006 championship, and Amy Anderson, the 17-year-old Girls’ Junior champion from Oxbow, N.D., were eliminated. Kim dropped a 5-and-3 decision to Canadian Maude-Aimee Leblanc, while Cydney Clanton of Concord, N.C., beat Anderson 3 and 2.
“I just tried to stay confident, and tried not to be intimidated by her,” said Leblanc, who plays at Purdue. “But she’s a long hitter, so that didn’t work.”
Two matches went 25 holes. Jodi Ewart, a 21-year-old Englishwoman who plays at New Mexico, beat Mallory Fraiche of Metairie, La., while 19-year-old Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., topped Kendra Little of Eugene, Ore.
Ewart, set to face Thompson in the second round, holed a 20-foot putt at the par-3 seventh hole to end the match. A hole earlier, Fraiche missed a 4-foot birdie putt that would have given her the win.
“I literally thought we would be out there all night,” said Ewart, a member of Britain and Ireland’s 2008 Curtis Cup team. “You really have to keep mentally strong, especially with this heat. You’ve got to keep drinking lots of water.”
Karle won with a downhill 10-foot birdie putt.
“Today was a grind-out day,” said Karle, who plays at Pepperdine.
In other matches, 19-year-old Jennifer Song, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion from Ann Arbor, Mich., beat Megan McChrystal of Stuart, Fla., 3 and 1; Canadian Stephanie Sherlock edged Marina Alex of Wayne, N.J., 2-up; and 16-year-old Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla., beat Sara Grantham of Wilsonville, Ala., 1-up.
“I really grinded today,” said Korda, whose father, former tennis star Petr Korda, is working as her caddie. “My putts, everything was like a roll short going into the hole. I had so many putts like that today.”