Wildman's Summer


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Kirby, Korda will roll into Women’s Am final

Complete U.S. Women’s Amateur coverage | Follow on Twitter: @Golfweek_Baldry

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It has been a long week, but we will have a duel between the United States and Canada in the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Here’s how things should shake out Saturday:

Jennifer Kirby vs. Danielle Kang: Kirby has been solid all week long, and Kang has needed to survive rather than flat-out win. Kang’s putter was a bit shaky in the quarterfinals, and almost cost her the match against Sydnee Michaels. A driver is something that can be fixed on the range, but a putting stroke takes a lot longer. Yes, players need to stay out of the rough, but they also need drain 6-footers on a consistent basis. I have Kang locked in my bracket to make it to the final match – but after what I saw today, I have to change my pick.

Prediction: Kirby wins, 3 and 2.

• • •

Stephanie Sherlock vs. Jessica Korda: This entire week I have been impressed by Korda. Perhaps I underestimated her? It just doesn’t matter who she goes up against, she finds a way to win her match. No player has ...

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Observations from the U.S. Women’s Am

Complete U.S. Women’s Amateur coverage | Follow on Twitter: @Golfweek_Baldry

The U.S. Women’s Amateur is half over, and there are some things I have observed throughout the week. Some have been good, some not so much:

  1. Enough caddying already. Several players in this field are receiving way too much “coaching” from caddies this week. I know some are dads who want to make sure their daughters do well, but let your girls play. Every shot caddies/dads are stepping behind their player checking their line, lining up putts and making their player overthink. Let the girls go out and play. If they have a question, let them ask it; otherwise, I think their confidence level is somewhat questionable.
  2. Heat wave. It is so hot in Charlotte that a few of the courses in the area have been forced to close due to poor course conditions. The course at Charlotte Country Club is in great condition despite the heat, and the USGA is doing something great for players. Today, USGA officials were carrying ice buckets with cold towels in it. On each tee box there is ample water and Powerade, but the iced towels are a nice touch ...

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Four can’t-miss Round of 32 matchups

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In Round 1 of match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, it seemed like so many of the matches were ones we would expect to see in the quarterfinals: Jessica Korda vs. Stephanie Kono; Alex Marina vs. Victoria Tanco; and Cydney Clanton vs. Tiffany Lua.

Not to worry, though, because there are still plenty of premier matchups in the Round of 32. Here are a few that will be must-see action:

  1. Rachel Rohanna vs. Marina Alex: The medalist was sweating out her Round 1 match against the 64-seed Isabel Han. Through 15 the two were all square, until Rohanna won the par-4 16th with a par. Rohanna shot 2 over on the day, and will face Marina Alex, who defeated one of the top juniors in the country, Victoria Tanco, 2 and 1. The best part of match play is that it doesn’t matter what you did in stroke play. Rohanna will have her hands full with Alex, who made five birdies in her opening-round match. People will flock to see the medalist, but really they should flock to see Alex, who should not be the underdog in this one.
  2. Cydney Clanton vs. Kristen ...

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Top 3 players for Women’s World Am Team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Women’s World Amateur Team Championship is Oct. 20-23 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Next week, the USGA will announce the three players who will represent Team USA.

If the winner of this week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship is American, she would be a lock for the team. Who else should wear the red, white and blue? Here is what my dream team would look like.

1.) Cydney Clanton. What a year the senior-to-be at Auburn has had. The 2008 NGCA Freshman of the Year continued to get better over the past couple of seasons. Clanton posted a school-record 71.45 scoring average in 2009-10 and finished T-3 at the NCAA Championship. Clanton represented the U.S. at the Curtis Cup and helped the team to its seventh straight victory. Clanton also won the North & South Amateur. Clanton was a quarterfinalist a year ago at the Women’s Am. If she can make another run this week, she would be a lock for a trip to South America.

2.) Jessica Korda. This one seems like a no-brainer. In 2006, Korda, then 13, represented the Czech Republic at the World Amateur Team in South Africa ...

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Chung now the top dog in amateur golf

It has taken some time, but finally someone has made themselves “the man” to beat this summer.

With a win at the Western Amateur last weekend and the Porter Cup the week before, David Chung is that man.

Chung completed a golf gauntlet at Skokie Country Club. First, he had to play three rounds of stroke play and finish in the top 16. Then he had to survive four rounds of match play. That’s seven rounds of golf in less than a week!

What makes Chung the man to beat this summer is his track record. The Porter Cup is one of the most elite fields of the summer, and the Western is thought to be the toughest amateur tournament period. He also finished seventh at the Players Amateur and was a semifinalist at the North & South Amateur.

Chung is on a great run as we get closer to the U.S. Amateur Championship. The amateur golf world has been waiting for some dominanant play and Chung has stepped up to the tee.

Peter Uihlein, Kevin Tway, Bobby Hudson, Kyle Peterman, Carter Newman, Joseph Bramlett, Andrew Yun and Andrew Putnam have won amateur events this summer. But none have ...

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Four mid-ams to watch at the Women’s Am

Five times in the last eight years, a teenager has won the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In 2006 Kimberly Kim won the event as a 14 year old. The oldest player over the last eight years to win the championship was a 21-year-old Amanda Blumenherst in 2008.

The oldest player to win the event in the last 35 years was Cathy Sherk in 1978. She was 28. The last time someone in her 30s won was in 1968 by a 30-year-old JoAnne Gunderson.

College and high school players have dominated the tournament, but I think there are a few mid-ams that can make a run this year. Here are a few seasoned veterans who can make a run at Charlotte Country Club.

Laura Coble

  • Home: Augusta, Ga.
  • Age: 46
  • School: Augusta State
  • Graduated: 1988
  • Why she can make a run: Winning is not a problem for Coble. The Georgia native is a eight-time winner of the Georgia State Golf Association Match Play. In 1999 she won the first of her five Georgia State Amateur Championships, a stroke-play event in a stroke play format (Her other victories came in 2003-2005, and 2007). I can’t recall a mid-am at the ...

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Quick look at the U.S. Women’s Amateur

Here’s a short preview of the U.S. Women’s Amateur. I’ll tell you give you what you need to know and give you my picks.

U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship

  • Course: Charlotte Country Club
  • City: Charlotte, N.C.
  • Yardage: 6,560
  • Par: 72
  • Round 1 of stroke play begins: Monday
  • Round 1 of match play begins: Wednesday
  • Weather forecast: Get your sunscreen ready because it is going to be hot and sunny. The high for the week will be around 93 degrees and the low will be 74.
  • 2009 champion: Jennifer Song
  • Why you should watch: This year’s championship will be a wide open race.. Several of the big names in women’s amateur golf have turned pro – Jennifer Song, Alexis Thompson, Kimberly Kim and Jennifer Johnson. Both Johnson and Song were in the finals a year ago. There is no clear favorite heading this year, but there are several top players to watch. U.S. Curtis Cup participants Jessica Korda, Cydney Clanton, Tiffany Lua and Tiffany Kono highlight this year’s field. This will be a year that all brackets will be busted.
  • Wildman’s pick: Lisa McCloskey. I have thought long and hard ...

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Five players who can win the Women’s Am

• WIN A PRIZE! Make your U.S. Women’s Amateur picks now

The U.S. Women’s Amateur starts Monday in Charlotte, N.C. There will be no Kimberly Kim, Alexis Thompson, Jennifer Song or Jennifer Johnson this year. So who’s left?

Here are my top five players to watch at Charlotte Country Club:

1.) Lisa McCloskey. The Texas native may not have a pile of wins this year, but she knows how to play match play. McCloskey made it to the finals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, losing to Emily Tubert, and last month made it to the finals of the North & South, losing to Cydney Clanton. Match play seems to be a game that McCloskey is comfortable with, and with two final appearance this summer the results don’t lie. If McCloskey can crack the top 64, look out because she may be a lock to make a deep run.

2.) Jessica Korda. For the last couple of years, Alexis Thompson has been the teenager getting most of the press at the Women’s Am. This year I think it will be Korda. As a 13-year-old, Korda won the Czech Amateur Match Play ...

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Event to watch: 108th Western Amateur

The Western Amateur is on the docket this week, so get your brackets ready and make some picks.

• Danny Lee (2008)

• Jamie Lovemark (2005)

• Ryan Moore (2004)

• Tiger Woods (1994)

• Justin Leonard (1992, ’93)

• Chris DiMarco (1998)

• Phil Mickelson (1991)

• Scott Verplank (1985)

• Hal Sutton (1979, ’80)

• Bob Clampett (1978)

• Curtis Strange (1974)

• Ben Crenshaw (1973)

• Andy North (1971)

• Lanny Wadkins (1970)

• Tom Weiskopf (1963)

• Jack Nicklaus (1961)

• Tommy Aaron (1960)

• Mason Rudolph (1956)

• Eddie Merrins (1955)

• Charlie Coe (1950)

• Frank Stanahan (1946, ’49, ’51-52)

• “Chick” Evans (1920-23)

• Frances Ouimet (1917)

 Western Amateur

  • Course: Skokie Country Club
  • City: Glencoe, Ill.
  • Yardage: 7,090
  • Par: 71
  • Format: Four rounds of stroke play (Tuesday-Thursday) with the top 16 players advancing to match play. Round of 16 and quarterfinals played on Friday. Semifinals and finals will be played on Saturday.
  • Round 1 begins: Tuesday
  • Weather forecast: Scattered thunderstorms for Tuesday, but sunny the rest of the week.
  • 2009 champion: John Hahn
  • Why you should watch: The Western Amateur has been around longer than the Oakland Raiders . . . over 100 years! This is now the 108th Western Amateur, and it will be a great preview for what we may see at the U.S. Amateur ...

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Wake me up when the action starts

Another week of amateur golf, and another week where my picks didn’t exactly pan out the way I predicted. That’s OK, because it has given me some things to think about as we get closer to the U.S. Amateur.

1. Red, White and Blue. David Chung continued a strong summer with his win at the Porter Cup over two of the best amateurs in the world – Peter Uihlein and Russell Henley. With a three-stroke victory, Chung’s summer is heating up. He was a semifinalist at the North & South Amateur and helped Team USA win the Palmer Cup. But is he a lock for the Walker Cup? The last three winners of the Porter Cup have made the squad – Brian Harman (2007), Adam Mitchell (2008) and Brendan Gielow (2009). Since the Porter Cup seems to mean a lot to the USGA and Walker Cup selection committee, look for Chung in the Red, White and Blue.

2. Lack of dominance. Sure, Uihlein, Henley and Chung have played well this summer, but has anyone really “wowed” us? Each week a top player wins, but no one has been able to run off consecutive titles. Winning is tough, I know ...

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Win a prize with U.S. Women’s Am picks!

The U.S. Women’s Amateur starts Aug. 9 and I thought it would be a good time to give away some more prizes. It’s time for another Wildman’s Challenge!

Here’s the deal:

Give me four players who you think will advance the farthest at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. For each round your players advance, the more points you earn. A Round 1 victory is worth one point, two points for Round 2, four points for Round 3, eight points for a victory in the quarterfinals, 16 points for a semifinals win and 32 points if your player wins the event.

• Picks need to be submitted to me before stroke play begins on Monday. This way, even though you submit four names, there is a chance you may not have all four of your players in the match play portion.

Tie breaker will be decided by winning score for the medalist. Send me that score. I don’t need the name of the medalist, just what you think their two-day score will be.

The tournament will be played at the par-72, 6,559-yard Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club.

E-mail me your picks, or post your ...

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Q&A: U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An

I recently chatted with the 2009 U.S. Amateur champion Byeong-Hun An, who, at 17, became the youngest U.S. Amateur champion when he defeated Ben Martin at Southern Hills. “Big Ben” told me about his busy year, and his thoughts on the new youngest U.S. Junior Amaeur champion, Jim Liu.

What has the past year been like since winning the U.S. Amateur Championship?

It’s been a blast. I played in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Masters, Verizon, Memorial, AT&T, U.S. Open, the Scottish Open and the British Open. Every single tournament was great. The majors were my favorite. Other than the majors, Memorial was great because I loved the course and I had a good time. Playing in the professional tournament taught me a lot and I know there is still plenty I can improve upon. It’s been a real busy year, but fun the whole time.

When you were playing in the professional events, anyone give you some good advice?

Everyone has been different. Jim Furyk gave me advice at the Open about college. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Nick Faldo also gave me advice on how to approach the game itself ...

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Five early Walker Cup picks for Team USA

Can you believe the summer is already starting to wind down? Next thing you know the college golf season will be underway. However, the summer is still heating up for some of the big names in amateur golf.

Jim Holtgrieve will captain Team USA at the Walker Cup next September at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland. Although Holtgrieve still has plenty of time to narrow down his choices for who will make the team, I thought I would throw out five names to keep in the back of his mind. These are guys you wouldn’t think of right off the bat – like Nathan Smith or Peter Uihlein, two players that are locks to make the team if they stay amateur.

1.) Blayne Barber. All this guy does is find himself atop the leaderboard. Barber finished third at the Jones Cup in February, one shot back of champion Patrick Reed, and finished 10th in March at the Azalea Invitational. A month later, he finished sixth at the Terra Cotta Invitational. Not too bad to start the year. This summer Barber finished 11th at the Sunnehanna, 37th at the Northeast and third at the Southern Amateur. Sure, he had a hiccup at ...

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Events to watch: Porter Cup, Pacific Coast Am

The summer is rolling along and there are two more great tournaments this week –the Porter Cup and the Pacific Coast Amateur. Here’s what you can expect . . .

Porter Cup

  • Course: Niagara Falls Country Club
  • City: Lewiston, N.Y.
  • Yardage: 6,837
  • Par: 70
  • Format: Stroke play
  • Round 1 begins: Wednesday
  • Weather forecast: Rain during the first round, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the 80s for the rest of the week.
  • 2009 champion: Brendan Gielow
  • Why you should watch: The Porter Cup traditionally has one of the summer’s best fields. Niagara Falls CC has four par 4s that are 450 yards or longer and three par 5s, the longest at 576 yards. While players may have their eyes set on eagle, they have to make sure not to find the thick rough around the greens. Also, the last three winners of the tournament have all played for Team USA at the Walker Cup.
  • Wildman’s pick: Peter Uihlein. The last time he teed it up, Uihlein dominated the Sahalee Players Championship and won by seven shots over Andrew Putnam. Whatever he was doing at Sahalee Country Club seemed to work. I expect him to continue his fine form ...

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Top 5 observations from the amateur week

What a crazy and exciting week from the world of amateur golf! I was in Ada, Mich., for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, where Jim Liu became the event’s youngest champion. Who did he surpass in the record books? That would be Mr. Tiger Woods.

Just because I was at the U.S. Junior doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention to the rest of the amateur golf world.

Here are my top five observations from the week.

1. Respect your elders. How about the 42-year-old who won the Palmetto Amateur? Todd White outlasted two others in a five-hole playoff at Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken, S.C. We often see a college player or up-and-coming teenager steal the show during the amateur season. This time we saw White, a member of the Hall of Fame at Furman University, add his name to record books by becoming the 2010 Palmetto Amateur champion.

2. Who’s the favorite for the U.S. Women’s Amateur? Keep an eye on Cydney Clanton. She won the North and South Women’s Amateur Saturday, a year after finishing as runner-up at Pinehurst. The U.S. Curtis Cup participant defeated Lisa McCloskey ...

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