Banner day for Stanford, Canada at Women's Am
GLEN COVE, N.Y. – Hard to believe this is Mariah Stackhouse’s debut at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She comes to Nassau Country Club as an easy favorite, given her tendency to rain down birdies. The steady head on her slight frame also helps.
Stackhouse, 20, survived a 20-hole scare courtesy of Thailand’s Chakansim Khamborn to advance to the Round of 32. She was one of three Stanford players to win their first-round match: Lauren Kim defeated Saki Iida, 4 and 2, while Casey Danielson ousted Seshia-Lei Telles, 6 and 4.
For Stackhouse to make it any farther, however, there’s work to be done. She’s missing it both ways off the tee and with her irons.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had this before,” said Stackhouse, who planned to call her swing coach after the round and spend time on the range.
Her next opponent will be familiar one in Kim, a fellow junior on the Stanford team.
PHOTOS: 2014 U. S. Women's Amateur (Rd. of 64)
View images from the round of 64 at the 114th U. S. Women's Amateur Championship at Nassau Country Club.
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See you tomorrow, eh?: The Cardinal weren’t the only ones having a banner day. Four of the five Canadian players – all dressed in matching Team Canada uniforms – advanced to the second round.
Augusta James, Elizabeth Tong, Brittany Marchand and Brooke Mackenzie Henderson survived their first tussles. Only Anne-Catherine Tanguay will be watching from the sidelines.
James won her Women’s Amateur qualifier but then earned an exemption by claiming the Canadian Women’s Amateur. That put Tong in the field, and interestingly, the two will face each other in the second round.
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Extra fun: Lakareber Abe arrived at Nassau Country Club at 5:45 a.m. to prepare for the sudden-death playoff that had been suspended due to darkness the previous evening. She parred her first extra hole on Wednesday morning to advance as the 64th seed. Abe then took out medalist Bethany Wu, 6 and 4, in the first round.
“I guess I’m still kind of riding up-tempo,” said the rising Alabama freshman. Abe also defeated Wu in the semifinals of the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior.
For Wu, it was a stark contrast to the first two days. She fired her caddie after nine holes because he talked too much. Wu said she prefers silence when her game goes south. She carried her own bag on No. 10 and half of the 11th hole before friend Laura Diaz-Yi came to help out. Diaz-Yi had looped for Grace Na earlier in the day.
“It’s a fickle game,” said Wu.
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Victory shuffle: For Emma Talley, it has been a week of steady improvement. On Wednesday, she survived a 19-hole duel with Jiyoon Jang to keep her chances of being a two-time Women’s Amateur champ alive.
Talley hit the flagstick on the 16th hole with her approach shot and then missed the short chance for birdie. She trailed by one hole with two to play but extended the match thanks to a Jang’s shaky short game.
On the 19th hole, Talley faced an awkward bunker shot – one foot in, one out – and she blasted it beautifully to gimme range. Jang bogeyed from just off the left side of the green, leaving her par putt short.
Talley said her father, Dan, constantly puts her in awkward positions during practice rounds.
“He never puts it in the flat spots,” she said. And it paid off.
One thing she’d change: Her daddy caddie has a tendency to shuffle his feet when he gets nervous.
It’s worked so far.
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Kid’s play: Grace Na, a four-time All-American from Pepperdine, faced 12-year-old Karah Sanford in the first round and tried to think of her opponent as any other player. But the truth is it was somewhat of a lose-lose situation for the 21-year-old. Beat Sanford and well, she’s only 12. Lose to Sanford and, well, she’s only 12.
Na struggled with the putter all day, prompting the referee of her match to joke when it was over that she could find a new flatstick in the pro shop.
“I missed a lot of 3-footers,” said Na, who rattled off three examples before saying, “I’m just going to stop there.”
Na credited Diaz-Yi, the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion, as being her 15th club. Diaz-Yi failed to advance to stroke play but said she finds caddying to be “a lot more gratifying.”
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Class act: Alison Lee spent more time grinding over her computer in the clubhouse on Tuesday as she did over her golf ball.
“Class is actually right now,” Lee said, glancing at her watch shortly after winning her first-round match, 3 and 2, over August Kim.
Lee is taking two summer classes right now, and she’s viewing the extra work as a nice distraction this week. The college sophomore plans to be in class on Monday at UCLA, regardless of how far she goes in her last Women’s Amateur.
“I tend to over-think on the golf course,” said Lee. “I kind of like having that escape from golf.”