KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. – For a while, it looked like Kristen Gillman might send scribes digging through the record books. Gillman took a commanding 7-up lead over future Alabama teammate Jiwon Jeon through 14 holes of the U.S. Women’s Amateur final. Jeon fought back, however, draining solid putts for birdie and par on the 17th and 18th holes, respectively, to head into lunch trailing 5 holes.
The second round will begin at 1:45 p.m. E.T. at Golf Club of Tennessee. Gillman, who won this championship in 2014 at the age of 16, looks to become the first player to win a second Women’s Am title since Danielle Kang went back-to-back 2010 and ’11. Gillman shot 68 on the opening 18, looking calm and driven.
Jeon, playing in this championship for the first time, won the NJCAA individual title in May along with several Division I tournaments while playing for Daytona State. She actually stayed with Gillman on her official visit in Tuscaloosa.
The largest margin of victory in championship history was Anne Sanders’ 14-and-13 triumph in 1961. In recent years, Morgan Pressel’s 9-and-8 rout over Maru Martinez marked the biggest blowout.
How does the steady Gillman keep the hammer down after an extended break?
“Just kind of have to still focus on every hole,” said Gillman, “and not think about what the score is.”