Golf just part of Murcia Ortiz’s talent
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Juliana Murcia Ortiz has spent little time under the USGA umbrella compared to most players her age. The 22-year-old is making her U.S. Women’s Amateur debut this week. She was a semifinalist at the ’05 U.S. Girls’ Junior, defeating Morgan Pressel early week with a dramatic chip-in on the 19th hole, a two-time World Amateur Team Championship participant (’04 and ’08) and qualifier for the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open.
Rest assured, however, that she’s match-play ready. The delightful Colombian has won four national championships, three in Colombia and the 100th anniversary of the Argentinean Amateur.
This week Murcia Ortiz is rolling through the upper bracket, defeating Mia Piccio, 3 and 2, in the first round and Curtis Cup player Sally Watson, 7 and 6, in the second. The recent Arizona State grad sank a 24-foot birdie on the 12th hole to end the match. She’ll face Pepperdine’s Danielle Kang in Round 3.
“I took advantage of her mistakes,” Murcia Ortiz said. “And I had some good holes, too.”
Murcia Ortiz has her coach of two years on the bag, Pedro Russi. He caddied for 2007 champion Mariajo Uribe at Crooked Stick. Uribe, now 20, plays on the LPGA but the two have been friends since childhood. Murcia Ortiz describes herself as more laid-back than Uribe and not as long off the tee. Both players have engaging personalities that translate well with galleries and media.
An art major with who specializes in sculpture, Murcia Ortiz lights up when asked about her latest projects. She recently sold a piece entitled “The Weight of Liberty” during her senior exhibition at ASU. The three-dimensional piece consisted of an army tank that carried a dozen replicas of the Statue of Liberty and pulled by three blue kids. It doesn’t take long to discern that Murcia Ortiz, who graduated with a 3.78 GPA, thinks well outside the box.
“Reflecting upon my life experiences,” Murcia Ortiz wrote on her Web site, “I came across the strong belief in male chauvinism that exists not only in Colombia, but also in Latin America, completely opposite to a more liberal country. In a new mindset, I constantly examine the differences that exist between men and women.”
Murcia Ortiz’s creative mind will be put to the test this week at a tournament that draws on as much mental strength as physical. The graduate seems well-equipped.