NESHANIC STATION, N.J. – This may or maybe not be Lisa McCloskey’s final USGA event as an amateur. She’s in summer school, taking an oceanography class at USC that ends the week of the U.S. Women’s Amateur. It’s her final class as a Trojan. Perhaps she’ll get a hall pass.
If this is her last hurrah, however, she has started out nicely, claiming medalist honors at the 36th U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. McCloskey, 20, also took the No. 1 seed at the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior after a scorching 63.
At Neshanic Valley, McCloskey shot 70-67 to finish at 7-under 137, one stroke ahead of Nebraska’s Steffi Neisen. Her second-round 67 was a tournament low.
“You can make a lot of birdies on this course,” said McCloskey, who had three straight in the middle of her round. “I thought there would be a 62 yesterday.”
It has been a year of near-misses so far for McCloskey. Her team lost the Pac-12 Championship by one stroke to California. After the Trojans annihilated the field at NCAA Regionals, they faltered down the stretch at the championship, losing to Alabama by one stroke.
“That one hurt,” she said.
After leading U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifying after 18 holes, McCloskey missed out on Blackwolf Run by two strokes following a weather delay. From there she went straight to the Curtis Cup, where her USA squad lost to Great Britain and Ireland for the first time since 1996. McCloskey did, however, win her singles match.
McCloskey, runner-up at this event in 2010, finished the year No. 7 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. She’s among the favorites this week.
“My putting carried me through the last two days,” she said.
That’s a rarity for the streaky player, and a good sign for the week.