Junior Notes: O’Sullivan qualifies for Women’s Open
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
LOW SCORES, HIGH GRADES: Looking at Hannah O’Sullivan’s resume, it’s clear that the 14-year-old has already made many significant achievements – straight A’s, top of her class, not to mention a plethora of notable finishes in golf tournaments. Just when you would think she couldn’t achieve much more as eighth grader, O’Sullivan goes and becomes the fourth-youngest participant ever to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Open.
At a sectional qualifier held at Half Moon Bay (Calif.) GL, May 20-21, O’Sullivan, who lives in Cupertino, Calif., garnered one of three qualifying spots after coming in second at 1-under 143 (71-72), just one shot off of the 2-under lead set by fellow teenager Gigi Stoll, a 15 year-old from Beaverton, Ore.
During the qualifier, O’Sullivan maintained a calm, collected mindset that helped her card a total of nine birdies throughout the 36 holes.
“I kept the idea of qualifying in the back of my mind, and I just played my own golf and enjoyed the tournament,” O’Sullivan said of the prospect of qualifying for the Open.
It wasn’t until after the qualifier that O’Sullivan let her achievement sink in.
“I was shocked,” said O’Sullivan. “It was a little overwhelming but it felt good.”
While O’Sullivan has never competed against professional golfers, her experience playing rounds with local Northern California-based LPGA veterans such as Juli Inkster and Pat Hurst should serve as a good primer as she prepares to compete at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisc. July 5-8.
The Women’s Open will be O’Sullivan’s second USGA Championship – she played in the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur, where she qualified for the match play field. At 12-years-old, O’Sullivan was the youngest player that year and the third 12-year-old ever to advance to match play.
While many people think of athletic talent – such as that of O’Sullivan – as a loophole around the need for a good education, O’Sullivan views time in the classroom as being equally important to time on the course.
“I’ve always dreamt of playing on the LPGA, but I want to get a college degree first,” said O’Sullivan, whose discipline and time-management skills will allow for neither her intellect nor golf game to go to waste.
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TEXAS TOURNAMENTS: The Texas Junior Golf Tour hosted several events throughout the state this week.
Maggie Neece, of Colleyville, Texas, shot 4-under 140 (65-75) at the GC of Dallas to win the DBU Patriot/Dallas Championship. Her previous-best TJGT finish was a ninth-place finish at the Traditions Fall Invitational at Texas A&M.
Neece won by four strokes over Eji Kwon, of Dallas, who shot 2-over 146 (71-75).
Nicole Budnik, of The Woodlands, Texas, shot 11-over 153 (76-77) to win the Northgate Junior Championship at Northgate CC in Houston. Kallie Gonzales finished four strokes behind, in second place at 15 over.
Christine Campbell, of Austin, shot 11-over 155 (77-78) to win the Greyrock Junior Championship at Greyrock, GC in Austin. Kelly Contreras, of San Antonio, finished six shots back in second place, at 17-over 161 (82-79).
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THE WEEK AHEAD: This week, the AJGA hosts the Evitt Foundation RTC Junior All-Star at WindStone GC, Ringgold, Ga.; the AJGA Junior at Steelwood CC in Loxley, Ala.; the Aspen Junior Golf Classic at Aspen (Colo.) GC; PING Phoenix Junior at ASU Karsten GC in Tempe, Ariz. (the home course of Arizona State); and the AJGA Junior at Quad Cities, played at Short Hills CC, East Moline, Ill – all wrap up on Thursday. . . . Also this week, the PGA Junior Series plays its season-opener at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, KY. . . . Next week the Florida Junior Golf Tour holds the Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship at Black Diamond Ranch (Ranch and Highlands) in Lecanto, Fla.
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