CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The U.S. Women’s Amateur is now over. There was a lot to see, and even more on which to take notes. Here are my five observations of the week:
- Korda’s run: You never know who you are going to face in match play. When the brackets come out, some players either have their eyes light up or are intimidated about what lies ahead. Jessica Korda had the toughest run to this year’s final match. In Round 1 she faced Curtis Cup teammate Stephanie Kono. In the next two rounds, she faced Candace Schepperle and Lisa McCloskey. When she got to the quarterfinals, she took on 2008 semifinalist Erynne Lee, and then in the semifinals took on recent University of Denver graduate and standout Stephanie Sherlock. Suffice to say, Korda earned her way to the finals and had one heck of an amazing run at this week’s championship.
- Summer heat: Perhaps the most amazing stat of the week is zero. Not one player had any heat-related injury issues. Medics bicycling the course throughout the day in case of an emergency, but they never were utilized. It was hot all week long, and players battled through it. Players played it safe this week by drinking constantly and graciously taking the iced towels provided by the USGA every couple of holes.
- Crowd noise? There may have been a couple hundred people watching the final match, but standing on the course, you would have thought you were alone on the first tee. Jessica Korda and Danielle Kang played exceptional golf in the finals, but apparently you need to hole everything to get some applause. Were they counting their score, Korda was 6 under, Kang 5 under. How much better did those two players have to do to get some roars from the crowd?
- Course conditions: Not one player had a bad thing to say about Charlotte Country Club, unless they found the rough. Greens were in great shape, the fairways looked perfect, and the rough was appropriately penalizing. Oftentimes at USGA events, the golf course can be too challenging with not many opportunities for players to score. That was not the case this week. Players performed well on the Donald Ross-designed course and it truly was a bright star this week.
- Team USA? It will be interesting to see who will make October’s Women’s World Team Amateur Championship for the United States. After winning this week, and medaling at two USGA events in the past month, Kang certainly seems like a lock. Spot No. 2 would appear to be going to Jessica Korda. Earlier this summer Korda played exceptionally well for USA at the Curtis Cup, and has been very vocal about wanting to represent the red, white, and blue in Argentina. The third and final spot likely will be decided between Cydney Clanton and Lisa McCloskey. Clanton won this summer’s North and South Amateur, where she defeated McCloskey. At the Women’s Amateur Public Links, McCloskey also reached the final match, but fell short to Emily Tubert. At this year’s championship, McCloskey lost to Jessica Korda in Round 3, but Clanton failed to make it out of the second round, losing to Kristen Park. It will be a toss-up, but I think Clanton gets the nod in the end.