Staff picks: U.S. Women’s Amateur
- Medalist: Lisa McCloskey. Not afraid to go low, McCloskey shot 63 at the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior to take medalist honors. The USC transfer also set an NCAA record with a 17-under 199 performance at a college tournament in Las Vegas.
- Winner: Caroline Hedwall. What better way for the powerful Swede to cap off the summer? Hedwall won the NCAA Championship in May and was the only amateur to make the cut at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. She’s a gamer.
- Sleeper: Juliana Murcia. Can I call her a sleeper? She was largely beneath the shadow of her teammates at Arizona State, but this artsy Colombian has talent. Semifinalist at 2005 U.S. Girls’ Junior, beating Morgan Pressel early week.
110th U.S. Women’s Amateur
Site: Charlotte, N.C.
Courses: Charlotte Country Club (6,559 yards – stroke play; 6,574 yards –match play, par 72)
2009 champion: Jennifer Song
- Medalist: Jessica Korda. I have seen enough of Korda to realize it doesn’t matter what course she is on, she can go low. Last year at Old Warson she was a shot shy of earning medalist honors. I think this year the 17-year-old gets the job done.
- Winner: Lisa McCloskey. This summer McCloskey was in the finals of the North & South Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. Given her success in match play so far this year, I’ll hop on her hot streak.
- Sleeper: Julia Boland. I’m a believer that the older players do better than the teenagers in this event. The Australian-born Boland has spent a couple of years in the States to become comfortable with the nation’s golf courses. She won three tournaments last year for Texas A&M, and I think she can win the big one this week.
- Medalist: Danielle Kang. Kang has already accomplished this feat twice – at last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur and last month’s U.S. Girls’ Junior. With her steady – and smart – style of play, Kang is tough to bet against when it comes to stroke play.
- Winner: Cydney Clanton. The Auburn senior started the summer helping Team USA win the U.S. Curtis Cup. She then reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and just last month won the North & South Women’s Amateur. Sounds like a perfect lead-in to a U.S. Amateur victory.
- Sleeper: Marina Alex. She had a stellar sophomore season at Vanderbilt – including individual medalist honors at the SEC Championship. She was knocked out in the first round of match play at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur, but this is the year for Alex to prove she’s better than that.