For two years, Isabelle Lendl has been looking for a lost sense of consistency. It’s coming back, albeit slowly.
Lendl, a standout junior golfer who will start her senior season at the University of Florida in the fall, logged a major breakthrough June 14 by winning the Women’s Eastern Amateur. It’s been a process getting back to the winner’s circle – she hadn’t seen it since February of 2010, when she shared the Central District Invitational title with her sister and Florida teammate Marika.
The Eastern victory wasn’t a shock for Lendl, especially since she won that event the first time she played it in 2009. That she won it wire-to-wire this time was a surprise. Lendl has struggled lately to put together three solid scores. She started the NCAA Women’s Championship with rounds of 82-78 before finishing 73-66. The final round bumped her into a tie for 51st.
“There were birdies out there and I played with Portland (Rosen) the first day when she had her 66 so I knew it was doable,” Lendl said of her round. “It’s just a matter of getting situated earlier I guess.”
To that end, Lendl added events to her schedule with the specific purpose of learning how to come out of the gate on fire. It’s one of the reasons she played the Connecticut Women’s Open at Clinton (Conn.) Country Club, near her home in Goshen, Conn.
“If I didn’t get off to a good start, I wouldn’t be in contention,” she said. “When you’re starting with 82, 78, the only way to get that out of your system is to play golf consistently and compete so I said, ‘Well, I’ll put it on the schedule and go from there.’”
Lendl finished third that week, three shots behind 14-year-old winner Megan Khang. It helped her round into form for the Eastern, but there still were mistakes that week she’s working to correct. The first thing she admits is the three-putt count — there were seven.
“That’s unacceptable – I don’t care if you’re finishing first or last or middle of the field,” she said. “I have things to work on that way, I still hit some shots that I wasn’t completely pleased with. It’s golf, there’s always something to work on.”
What: Ladies’ British Amateur
When: June 26-30
Why it’s important: One of the premier women’s amateur championship across the pond, made even more interesting because it returns to a beastly hard Carnoustie for the first time since 1973. The event was won last year by then-16-year-old Lauren Taylor, a Baylor commit.
That’s where longtime coach Daril Pacinella comes in, a family friend who teaches in Southwick, Mass., in the summers and Melbourne, Fla., in the winters. Expect Lendl to log a few hours under Pacinella’s eye until it’s time to compete again. That won’t happen until the North & South Amateur played July 17-21 at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort.
It will be a relaxing summer for Lendl, and perhaps that much more relaxing now that she’s won again. It could said up big things for her senior year at Florida
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MEMORIES… It’s been two weeks since the Curtis Cup was contested in Nairn, Scotland, and three U.S. Curtis Cup players are in the field this week at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (Tiffany Lua, Lisa McCloskey and Emily Tubert). The GB&I-winning point from Stephanie Meadow (in her match against Amy Anderson), garnered a lot of attention, but now that the dust has settled, here are five more worth remembering:
1.) Brooke Pancake (U.S.) def. Leona Maguire (GB&I), 6 and 5 In the most lopsided singles match, Pancake delivered one of only three points for the Americans on Day 3. Pancake, in the last spot on the U.S. singles lineup, was an “ace in the hole” for U.S. captain Pat Cornett. She delivered handily, giving Amy Anderson, one spot ahead of her in the lineup, the green light to try to defeat Stephanie Meadow for the cup. When Meadow prevailed, so did GB&I.
2.) Charley Hull (GB&I) def. Lindy Duncan (U.S.), 5 and 3: Without this win, Hull, No. 5 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, wouldn’t have earned a point for GB&I. After sitting out two of four matches in the opening two days, Hull made five birdies in her match against Duncan.
3.) Stephanie Meadow, Pamela Pretswell (GB&I) def. Erica Popson, Tiffany Lua (U.S.) The final fourball match of Day 2, this might have been the one match with the biggest crowd. Well, at the 18th hole at least. After GB&I had staged a comeback in this session, earning a point and a half already, Meadow and Pretswell kept the home -team momentum alive by taking a 1-up lead into the final hole, then winning 18 to finish 2 up. It truly set the stage for GB&I’s Sunday singles romping.
4.) Meadow, Maguire (GB&I) def. Duncan, McCloskey (U.S.), 3 and 1: In a word, this foursomes match was a story of revenge. Duncan and McCloskey handily won the first encounter, during opening foursomes, which seemed to only motivate the GB&I duo more. Said Meadow: “It was kind of like rematch time and there was no way they were beating us.”
5.) Anderson, Emily Tubert (U.S.) def. Pretswell, Hull (GB&I): This was the only point the Americans won in the fourballs during Day 1, which might have kept a sense of urgency out of the U.S. team room that night. Had GB&I won all three matches on Thursday afternoon, it might have changed the American mindset, making them better prepared for a GB&I rally the following afternoon.
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SHORT SHOTS: Call Lisa McCloskey and Ariya Jutanugarn Queens of Stroke Play for this week. Those two players earned the top seeds in the two biggest women’s amateur events this week, the Women’s Amateur Public Links and the Women’s Western Amateur, respectfully. McCloskey shot 7-under 137 (70-67) while Jutanugarn was at 3-under 144 (66-75). . . . Laura Coble of Augusta, Ga., won the Georgia Women’s Match Play on June 15, which marks her ninth victory in the event’s 15-year history. Coble was a finalist at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. She lost to Martha Leach.