Uribe Captures Womens Amateur Title

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USGACARMEL, Ind. -- Maria Jose Uribe's first victory on a U.S. golf course almost certainly won't be her last.
 
The 17-year-old Colombian, who will be a freshman at UCLA in the fall, took advantage of a late putting lapse by Amanda Blumenherst and beat the two-time college player of the year 1-up for the U.S. Women's Amateur championship on Sunday.
 
'I haven't won a tournament in the States, and now I win this one. It's an honor to international players,' she said. 'It's really good to get it done against a great opponent. What a talent!'
 
Neither player was up by more than one hole the entire 36-hole match-play final round at Crooked Stick Golf Club. Uribe and Blumenherst, a junior at NCAA champion Duke, were even going into the next-to-last hole.
 
Both tee shots landed on the green, but Blumenherst's first putt from 20 feet was about 6 feet too long. She then missed her par putt to give Uribe an opening. The two-time South American junior and amateur champion missed her first putt to the right but tapped in for a par 3 and the lead going into the final hole.
 
'She was struggling on the green, but I knew if I made it, nothing else could take it,' Uribe said. 'I thought she was going to make it, though. She didn't make putts today; she deserved one, at least.'
 
Blumenherst couldn't explain her putting problem, especially on the key 35th hole.
 
'I definitely got out of my game,' Blumenherst said. 'I had left so many putts today I almost forced it. I just hit it way too hard and missed it coming back.'
 
On the 412-yard, par-4 final hole, Blumenherst's long putt from the fringe was about 2 feet to the right. Uribe holed her putt from 6 feet for the championship.
 
'I didn't want it to go to another hole,' Uribe said. 'It was in my hands to finish the tournament.'
 
Blumenherst, who grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., brought a gallery of about 25 family and friends.
 
She dominated her past three matches, never having to play past the 15th hole. But she seemed almost normal after playing Uribe to a draw for the first 18 holes Sunday.
 
'I felt like I was putting great strokes on them but they just didn't go in,' Blumenherst said. 'It was frustrating.'
 
Blumenherst went 1-up with a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 7, the 25th hole of the day. But she lost the advantage two holes later when a drive out of bounds forced her to drop another ball for a penalty and eventually a bogey-6. That was only the second time since the first round she did not make par.
 
Blumenherst regained the lead on the next hole when her second shot stopped dead a foot from the hole and Uribe conceded the birdie. But she missed makable putts on each of the next three holes, and Uribe went 1-up with a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-3 31st hole. Blumenherst tied the match for the final time after Uribe drove out of bounds with five holes remaining.
 
During the first 18 holes Sunday, Blumenherst continued the steady play she had shown all week but never led by more than one hole. She birdied the par-5, 502-yard 11th hole, but Uribe did her one better, hitting a 30-foot putt for an eagle-3 to tie the match again.
 
Blumenherst sank a curling, 35-foot downhill putt on No. 16, her fifth birdie of the match. But Uribe's 16-foot birdie putt on No. 18 squared the match again going into the final 18 holes.
 
'She's obviously a great player,' Blumenherst said. 'She beat me.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Amateur