Five players who can win the Women’s Am

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The U.S. Women’s Amateur starts Monday in Charlotte, N.C. There will be no Kimberly Kim, Alexis Thompson, Jennifer Song or Jennifer Johnson this year. So who’s left?

Here are my top five players to watch at Charlotte Country Club:

1.) Lisa McCloskey. The Texas native may not have a pile of wins this year, but she knows how to play match play. McCloskey made it to the finals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, losing to Emily Tubert, and last month made it to the finals of the North & South, losing to Cydney Clanton. Match play seems to be a game that McCloskey is comfortable with, and with two final appearance this summer the results don’t lie. If McCloskey can crack the top 64, look out because she may be a lock to make a deep run.

2.) Jessica Korda. For the last couple of years, Alexis Thompson has been the teenager getting most of the press at the Women’s Am. This year I think it will be Korda. As a 13-year-old, Korda won the Czech Amateur Match Play Championship. She made the cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April and finished T-67. Earlier this summer as a member of Team USA’s Curtis Cup squad, Korda had an impressive 3-1-1 record which included 4-and-3 win over GB&I’s Pamela Pretswell. The 17-year-old is extremely mature for her age. She finished second in the stroke-play portion of the Women’s Am a year ago and advanced it to the quarterfinals. This year I think she makes it even farther.

3.) Candace Schepperle. The Auburn graduate will now be known as one of the seasoned veterans at the Women’s Am. A quarterfinalist a year ago, Schepperle decided to stay amateur this summer rather than turn pro so that she could have one more chance to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur. This summer Schepperle finished T-7 in the stroke-play portion of the WAPL before losing in the Round of 32 to Stephanie Kono. Schepperle also fell in the second round of the North & South to Haley Millsap. The one thing Schepperle does well is pace herself on the golf course which slows the match down for her. Earlier in the summer she told me she was upset to be a Curtis Cup snub. This now can be her chance to prove to everyone that should not have of happened.

4.) Amy Anderson. The 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion is exempt for this event with her win at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J., last summer. The North Dakota native made a splash with her 6-and-5 victory over Kimberly Kim. This year Anderson will have higher expectations . After completing her first year at North Dakota State, Anderson won five times and finished 98th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Collge Rankings with an impressive head-to-head record of 609-27-5. Anderson knows how to win and stay calm for a week-long tournament. She impressed me by defeating Kim Kim at the Junior in dominant fashion. A junior title last summer, but perhaps the women’s crown this summer? I think she can do it.

5.) Cydney Clanton. With a 7-0 record in match play this year alone, Clanton may be considered the favorite. Last month Clanton won the North & South Women’s Amateur, defeating Lisa McCloskey, 3 and 1. The Curtis Cup participant also won her only singles match for Team USA, defeating Hannah Barwood, 4 and 3. Clanton made it to the Round of 16 at the Women’s Am last year. This year, my bet is that she goes even farther.

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