BARRINGTON, R.I. – Defending champion Danielle Kang beat Demi Frances Runas, 4 and 3, on Friday to advance to the semifinals in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rhode Island Country Club.
The 18-year-old Kang, a Pepperdine player from Westlake Village, Calif., will face Alabama’s Brooke Pancake on Saturday. Pancake, from Chattanooga, Tenn., beat Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash., in 21 holes.
In the other quarterfinals, LSU’s Austin Ernst, the NCAA champion from Seneca, S.C., routed Stephanie Kono of Honolulu, 5 and 4, and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn edged Casey Danielson of Osceola, Wis., 2 and 1.
Kang is trying to become the first player to win two years in a row since Kelli Kuehne in 1995-96.
“Pars won holes,” Kang said. “I made a lot of good putts, but they just didn’t go in. It was a waiting game today.”
Runas is from Torrance, Calif.
Pancake was even or behind before winning on the third extra hole.
“I was 2 holes down after the fourth and she wasn’t making any mistakes,” Pancake said. “I told my caddie I was going to have to hit my irons closer to get back in the match. I’m going to have to play a lot better tomorrow to get into the final.”
The 36-hole final is Sunday.
“It’s great,” Ernst said. “When the week started I definitely wanted to get to this point. It’s been solid golf so far.”