Teen Falls Short in Qualifying Bid for Womens Open

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USGAFourteen-year-old Carmen Bandea beat out 44 male golfers and tied 11 others Monday, but it wasn't enough to advance at local qualifying for the U.S. Open.
 
Bandea was one of three females who entered qualifying for the men's Open at Pinehurst, N.C. None of them advanced past the local level.
 
Bandea shot a 4-over 76 at Planterra Ridge Golf Club southwest of Atlanta, leaving her seven strokes behind the last group of qualifiers. She tied for 72nd among the 127 golfers who completed 18 holes. Eleven others withdrew.
 
'It was a great experience,' she said. 'My putter didn't work as well as I thought it could have. I probably had 10 birdie opportunities and I didn't take one.'
 
Still, it was a respectable performance by one of the most unlikely players to enter the Open's unique qualifying format.
 
The only other females among thousands of entrants were 15-year-old phenom Michelle Wie and LPGA Tour professional Isabelle Beisiegel. They, too, failed to move on to sectional qualifying.
 
Bandea also is a rising tennis player who hopes to turn pro in that sport later this year. In the meantime, she is eager to challenge herself on the golf course.
 
Bandea will attempt to qualify for the men's Public Links Championship and U.S. Amateur. And look for her to take another shot at the Open in 2006.
 
'You can always expect more from yourself,' she said. 'I'm sure I'll try to do it again next year.'
 
Amateur Jay Moseley of Bainbridge, Ala., and Chad Wilfong of Thomasville, N.C., shot 66 to tie for the medalist honors. Also advancing to sectional qualifying were Mark Blackburn of Guntersville, Ala. (67), Brendon Todd of Charlotte, N.C. (67), Josh Bunch of Murrayville (67), Aron Price of Statesboro (69), Dave Schreyer of Peachtree City (69), Matt Peterson of Watkinsville (69) and Scott Parel of Augusta (69).
 
Price, Schreyer, Peterson and Parel survived a seven-way playoff for the final four spots in the sectional, set for June 6 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
 
Bandea said she became flustered at No. 18 - her ninth hole of the day - when an official warned her for slow play. She wound up making bogey.
 
'I panicked and screwed up that hole,' she said. 'I felt like I had to go fast.'
 
Bandea also bogeyed two of her last three holes.
 
'I was swinging a little harder with the wind blowing, and I couldn't pick out the right club,' she said. 'You need experience to pick out the right club, and I don't have that.'
 
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