Medalists move on with double wins

By Usga News ServicesAugust 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGAEUGENE, Ore. ' Stroke-play co-medalists Amanda Blumenherst, 21, and Stephanie Na, 19, both claimed two victories Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship at Eugene Country Club.
 
Blumenherst, the three-time NCAA Player of the Year, recorded two easy victories, 4 and 3 over Nikki Koller in the second round and a 7-and-6 third-round victory over Ellen Mueller.
 
I am starting to get the course down now, said Blumenherst after playing just 27 holes in the two victories. Some of the fairways really kick one way or the other. It takes a few rounds to really get to know a course.
 
The victories brought the highly acclaimed Blumenherst closer to another shot to claim her first national title. A year ago, she lost a heartbreaking 1-down decision to Maria Jose Uribe in 36 holes at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
 
I was playing great last year too, said Blumenherst. I was hitting the ball really well and I feel like I am putting the ball better now.
 
Nas two matches were a different story. In her morning second-round match against Sydney Burlison, 18, Na trailed 3 down after 11 holes, but came back to earn a 2-and-1 victory. Her third-round match against Kristina Wong, 17, would be a close, seesaw affair, with neither player holding more than a 1-up advantage.
 
The turning point came on No. 16, when Na, 1 down, made a 27-foot birdie putt to square the match.
 
I was 1 down with a few to go and I needed to make a move sometime, said Na, the 2008 Australian Stroke Play champion who is playing in her first USGA championship. On 16, I have good feelings about that hole. I really like it. I hadnt holed anything really today, and I had an 8-meter putt and I just felt really good about it and it went straight in so that got me going.
 
A three-putt by Wong on No. 17 gave Na a 1-up lead. On the 18th, Wongs birdie putt from 25 feet stopped just short of the hole and Na converted her 3-footer for par to earn the 1-up victory.
 
Very relieved, said Na when asked how she felt after the win. Im really happy with myself that I could come back in the end and just never give up.
 
Another Womens Amateur rookie, Whitney Neuhauser, 20, also advanced, with a 1-up victory over 18-year-old Stephanie Kono.
 
Also reaching the quarterfinals were three Spaniards, as 18-year-old Carlota Ciganda, 19-year-old Belen Mozo and 20-year-old Azahara Munoz, the reigning Division I individual champion, all recorded two victories to advance.
 
The trio will team to represent their country at the Womens World Amateur Team Championship in Australia later this year, something they did two years ago in South Africa in leading Spain to an eighth-place finish.
 
Thats perfect because we are like the three best friends, said Ciganda about reaching the quarterfinals with her two compatriots. They are like my best friends so I am happy for them and thats really nice. We are having a lot of fun. Thats great to be the three of us here.
 
Erynne Lee, a 15-year-old and 19-year-old Chelsea Stelzmiller round out the quarterfinalists. Lee is playing in her fourth USGA championship, including this year's U.S. Womens Open, while Stelzmiller is playing in her first.
 
Related Links:
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.