Medalist Swaim Eliminated By Janangelo; Defending Champion Eliminated
Scarborough, N.Y – For the fourth time in five USGA match play events this year, a medalist has been eliminated in the first round.
After setting a Women’s Amateur stroke play mark by a medalist, 22-year-old Courtney Swaim of Sugar Hill, Ga., lost 2 and 1 to Elizabeth Janangelo, 18, of West Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday.
The 102nd U.S. Women’s Amateur is being contested at the 6,190-yard, par-71 Sleepy Hollow Country Club.
Swaim, a USA Curtis Cup team member, had qualified for match play with a 135 for 36 holes (7 under par) and was two strokes better than the 137 record fired by Natalie Gulbis in 1999. But all that meant nothing when Swaim and Janangelo walked onto the course Wednesday.
Janangelo, a semifinalist at the 2001 Girls’ Junior, secured the 64th spot in a 15-for-2 playoff. As darkness set in Tuesday, Janangelo drained a left-to-right 15-footer for birdie, setting off a flurry of fist pumps. It improved her playoff record to 1-9.
“I knew what I was getting into when I saw the draw,” said Swaim, playing in her third Women’s Amateur. “I knew she was a pretty good junior player. I didn’t beat myself; she beat me.
“Because I was the No. 1 player and she was the 64th player, that meant absolutely nothing.”
A case could be made for that. At the Women’s Amateur Public Links, medalist Jessica Reese was ousted by Sunny Oh, 9 and 7. In the Amateur Public Links Championship, Isaac Jimison lost to Tele Wightman, 2 up. And at the U.S. Junior Amateur, co-medalist Jared Texter was beaten by Shane Sigsbee, 2 up. (However, the other co-medalist, Tarik Can, did advance to the semifinals before falling). Girls’ Junior medalist In-Bee Park, 14, of Eustis, Fla., went on to win the championship.
Consistently out-driving Swaim, Janangelo got out to a 1-up lead on the second hole. Swaim missed a putt for par inside 10 feet – one of three such crucial misses in the round – to scratch out a bogey.
“The first 10 holes, I missed three putts inside 10 feet,” said Swaim. She would miss putts for birdie on the 5th and 10th holes.
Swaim grabbed a 1-up lead on the 453-yard par-5 8th when she recorded her only birdie of the day. It would be a lead she would hold for the next four holes. However, both players agreed the critical moment in the match occurred on No. 11, a 374-yard par 4, even though it was halved.
Janangelo sank a slider putt from right to left from about 15 feet away. Swaim needed to sink a 7-footer, which she did, to equal Janangelo. Yet Janangelo was gaining confidence.
“That was critical,” said Janangelo, who had four birdies. “It gave me momentum, and I had that momentum going into the last five holes.”
After squaring the match on No. 12, Janangelo took control with a 6-footer for birdie on the 381-yard par-4 14th. On the next hole, Janangelo birdied again (to Swaim’s bogey) to go 2 up.
Swaim cut into the lead by winning No. 16, but on the final hole she “had a bad approach and couldn’t get up and down,” she said.
Next up for Janangelo is Oh, 19, of Torrance, Calif., who beat 19-year-old Hana Kim of Los Angeles, 1 up.
For Swaim, she is leaning toward turning professional. Her plans are to attend LPGA Q-School from Aug. 27-31. It’s small consolation that she set a record this week.
“It feels great,” said Swaim. “I would say I have struggled in the stroke part of the amateur before.
“If I had the means, I’d stay an amateur the rest of my life. Professional golf is completely different from amateur golf. It’s cut and dry out there.”
In another eventful match, defending champion Meredith Duncan, 22, of Shreveport, La., was eliminated by 20-year-old Katherine Hull of Australia in 20 holes.
Duncan lost the lead on the 17th hole when she couldn’t get up and down. On the final hole, the 309-yard par 4 uphill 2nd, both players got to the green in two, although Duncan’s ball rolled back to the fringe.
Indecisive, Duncan grabbed a sand wedge and attempted to nudge the ball uphill. Instead, she over-swung and knocked the ball 8 feet past the hole. Meanwhile, Hull stuck a 20-footer within an inch.
With the pressure on, Duncan narrowly missed the 8-footer.
“I missed a lot of putts. Period,” said Duncan.
Said Hull: "It was miracle, mentally and physically, around this course."
Hull faces Aree Wongluekiet, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., in the second round of match play.
With the loss, Duncan will now embark on a professional career. She begins LPGA Q-School Aug. 27 in Florida. She’s excited and understands the differences between amateur and professional.
“For one thing, people are doing it for a living,” said Duncan. “It puts food on the table. Don’t get me wrong, amateur golf is serious. But there’s something more serious when you’re playing for money.”
If there was something she’ll remember for being the Women’s Amateur champ for a year, it was this: “It’s given me a lot of confidence. When I step on the tee, people are looking at me as the amateur champion.”
The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur is open to female amateur golfers who have USGA handicap indexes not exceeding 5.4. Entries closed June 19.
After two rounds (36 holes) of stroke play, the lowest 64 scorers advanced to match play. The first two rounds of match play, consisting of 18 holes each, is scheduled for Wednesday, with the third round and quarterfinals set for Thursday. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the 36-hole final is set for Saturday.
Story written by Ken Klavon, USGA.
Round Of 64 Results
For first-round match play results, go to http://www.uswamateur.org/scoring/match1.html
Round Of 32 Pairings
1:30 pm Elizabeth Janangelo, West Hartford, Conn. (151) vs. Sunny Oh, Torrance, Calif.
1:38 pm Becky Lucidi, Poway, Calif. (144) vs. Laura Myerscough, Charleston, Ill. (149)
1:46 pm Emily Bastel, Upper Sandusky, Ohio (141) vs. Robin Burke, Houston, Texas (148)
1:54 pm Christine Boucher, Canada (150) vs. Sarah Jacobs, Whites Creek, Tenn. (146)
2:02 pm Alena Sharp, Canada (139) vs. Erica Blasberg, Corona, Calif. (147)
2:10 pm Meaghan Francella, Port Chester, N.Y. (143) vs. Lindsey Wright, Australia (145)
2:36 pm Walailak Satarak, Thailand (143) vs. Mina Hardin, Ft Worth, Texas (148)
2:45 pm Aree Song Wongluekiet, Bradenton, Fla. (139) vs. Katherine Hull, Australia (146)
2:53 pm Danielle Downey, Spencerport, N.Y. (138) vs. Brandi Jackson, Belton, S.C. (147)
3:20 pm Vikki Laing, Scotland (144) vs. Ellen Port, St Louis, Mo. (149)
3:28 pm Jennifer Perri, Eden Prairie, Minn. (140) vs. Shayna Miyajima, Wailuku, Hawaii
3:45 pm Carol Semple Thompson, Sewickley, Pa. (139) vs. Lindsay Morgan, Walla Walla,
3:53 pm In-Bee Park, Eustis, Fla. (143) vs. Mollie Fankhauser, Columbus, Ohio (148)
4:17 pm Naree Song Wongluekiet, Bradenton, Fla. (144) vs. Virada Nirapathpongporn,
4:45 pm Maru Martinez, Venezuela (140) vs. Sukjin-Lee Wuesthoff, Toms River, N.J. (146)
5:11 pm Angela Jerman, Columbus, Ga. (143) vs. Kristy McPherson, Conway, S.C. (148)