Meet the high school coach who qualified for the U.S. Women's Open

Meet the high school coach who qualified for the U.S. Women's Open

LPGA Tour

Meet the high school coach who qualified for the U.S. Women's Open

By

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Two days after Amy Ruengmateekhun led Ursuline Academy of Dallas to its second consecutive state high school title, she qualified for her first U.S. Women’s Open. Ruengmateekhun, 27, had been trying to make her way into the biggest championship in women’s golf since 2007. It took quitting the game competitively to get there.

“My girls are a huge inspiration for me,” Ruengmateekhun said of the high school team that carded its lowest round – 307 – on the final day of the championship. It marked the first time four players on her team broke 80 in the same round. 

Amy Ruengmateekhun, far left, qualified two days after leading her team to a second straight state title.

Ruengmateekhun’s athletic director at Ursuline had T-shirts made up and they threw the coach a sendoff party at the family’s restaurant, Tukta Thai, in Dallas.

Ruengmateekhun played college golf at Oklahoma State before making her way out on the Symetra Tour. She quit the tour last June after struggling with a foot injury and began teaching at Brookhaven Country Club in Farmers Branch, Texas. Coaching and teaching breathed new life into her game. 

“I still see golf in my future,” she said. “The way I’ve been just in control of my life and also my game – I feel like I never had that before.”

Ruengmateekhun’s story as a pro was already inspirational as she lost 82 pounds during the course of her career. Walking away from a dream she’d worked so hard for led to a great deal of sadness. 

Part of her felt like she’d left the game too early, which is why she signed up for U.S. Women’s Open qualifying one more time. Competing in a major championship would complete the arc of her golf career. 

It just so happened to come at a time when she’d practiced the least and had lower-than-ever expectations. (Ruengmateekhun hadn’t even walked 18 holes in nearly a year when she showed up at qualifying.) 

In eight previous attempts, Ruengmateekhun’s best finish at USWO qualifying came in 2009 when she advanced to a five-hole playoff only to come up short thanks to three three-putts. 

With her younger brother, Jamie, on the bag and fiancé David Mullins pumping her with confidence, Ruengmateekhun holed out from 30 yards for birdie on her penultimate hole and nearly chipped in on the last to take the second qualifying spot out of Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, Texas. 

She’s one of 47 first-time participants at Country Club of Charleston.

“Coaching and teaching made me fall in love with it again,” Ruengmateekhun said.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home