Jennifer Kupcho finds her caddie for historic round at Augusta National Women's Amateur

Courtesy: Augusta National

Jennifer Kupcho finds her caddie for historic round at Augusta National Women's Amateur

Amateur

Jennifer Kupcho finds her caddie for historic round at Augusta National Women's Amateur

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Mike Kupcho was perfectly fine with hanging up the bib before the final round. From the moment his daughter Jennifer decided to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, she knew that she wanted to hire the same local caddie who had carried her bag here two years ago. Only she didn’t find out his name until Thursday afternoon.

Dad looped her bag the first two rounds at Champions Retreat, where Jennifer enjoyed a wire-to-wire lead. Now the question remained: Who would caddie at Augusta?

Jennifer took another walk with longtime Augusta caddie Brian McKinley during Friday’s practice round. Mike was there too, asking questions and watching how McKinley went about the work of preparing his player for a chance at history.

Jennifer, the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, holds a one-shot lead over Maria Fassi heading into a pressure-packed final round.

“I was just kind of watching and thought, why would you not go with him?” said Mike. “Whatever decision you make, you can’t second-guess it.”

That especially rings true on the greens, he said. Jennifer doesn’t often rely on him for insight at a normal event, but Augusta National is unlike any course they’ve ever tackled.

Friday’s round confirmed what Jennifer thought all along – local is the way to go.

“I would read it one way and he’s like, no, it’s definitely going the other way,” said Jennifer. “Hit the putt; he’s right. Just stuff like that, you’ve got to lean on a caddie for that.”

Kupcho and Fassi, two players who deferred their LPGA cards until after the NCAA Championship, tee off at 10:40 a.m. E.T. in front of what’s expected to be record crowds for an amateur competition.

Kupcho’s older brother Steve, who is pursuing a professional golf career of his own, flew in on Friday to be here for the final round. Wake Forest coach Kim Lewellen will also be on hand as well as assistant coach Ryan Potter and retired Wake coach Dianne Dailey.

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