Swaim The Early Leader At Women's Amateur

Scarborough, N.Y – Twenty-two-year-old Courtney Swaim of Sugar Hill, Ga., grabbed the early lead during the first round of stroke play Monday at the 102nd U.S. Women’s Amateur at the 6,190-yard, par-71 Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

Swaim, a member of this year’s victorious USA Curtis Cup team, shot a 4-under-par 67 and was in the clubhouse atop the leaderboard from the morning groups. Defending champ Meredith Duncan, 22, of Shreveport, La., shot a 3-under 68. And Maru Martinez, 18, of Maracaibo, Venezuela, fired a 2-under 69.

On the strength of a hole-in-one, 21-year-old Alena Sharp of Hamilton, Ontario, fired a 1-under 70. Sharp recorded her first-ever hole-in-one when, using a 6-iron, she aced the 194-yard par-3 7th hole.

Groups with afternoon tee times were still on the course.

Starting on the 10th hole, Swaim had back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes. She made the turn 1 under before finishing up strong with birdies on two of her last three holes.

Although a lead breeds confidence, Swaim wasn’t getting too high. After all, she missed the cut at this year’s Women’s Open but realizes the goal here is to simply make it to match play.

“I hope to win,” said Swaim, a recent graduate of Auburn University, where she majored in Business Administration. “You don’t come here to play unless you want to win. I want to get through stroke play. It doesn’t matter what you shoot.”

Duncan, who won last year’s event in stirring fashion with a birdie on the 37th hole at Flint Hills National Golf Club, Mission Hills, Kan., picked up where she left off and birdied her first hole. Using a 7-iron on No. 1, a 398-yard par 4, Duncan ripped her approach to 6 feet of the hole.

Staying consistent, Duncan parred the next seven holes until sinking a 12-foot putt for birdie on 361-yard, par-4 9th.

After draining a 25-footer for birdie on the next hole, she duplicated the feat with another 25-foot birdie on No. 16. The putt broke left by a foot before finding the hole.

Being the champion and all, Duncan is aware that she is the proverbial target this week.

“When I put too much pressure on myself, I don’t get anything accomplished,” said Duncan, who missed the cut at this year’s Women’s Open.

Speaking of accomplishments, Duncan had a hand in the USA team’s victory in the Curtis Cup that was played at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Aug. 3-4. Duncan halved the 16th hole against Great Britain and Ireland’s Alison Coffey on the final day to assure the USA's 11 and 7 win.

“We (USA Curtis Cup players) are on a high from that. I’ve had five days off to think about it,” said Duncan.

It was an emotional time to say the least, but the tension was compounded when Duncan tumbled 17 stairs at her hotel the night before the Match was to begin. This week all 16 players from the Curtis Cup Match are competing in the Women’s Amateur.

“Being graceful, wearing high heels, it was an excellent fall,” said Duncan tongue in cheek. “I thought I stuck it. It was a 10.”

Making her first appearance in a USGA event, Martinez didn’t appear to be star-struck or nervous. She arrived in the United States six months ago and will attend Auburn this fall. Martinez took up the game seven years ago when a family friend introduced her to the sport at a private club in her hometown.

On Monday, she carded four birdies. “I was expecting to play well at this [championship. It is an honor to play in this [championship],” said Martinez.

Last year’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, Laura Shanahan-Rowe, 43, of Bedford, N.H., was 6-over 77.

This year’s Girls’ Junior winner, In-Bee Park, 14, of Eustis, Fla., had an afternoon tee time. So did Annie Thurman, 19, of Highland, Utah, winner of this year’s Women’s Amateur Public Links.

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 will advance 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.

Midday Results

Scarborough, N.Y. -- Early results from the 2002 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at the 6,190-yard, par-71 Sleepy Hollow Country Club:

Courtney Swaim, Sugar Hill, Ga., 32-35--67
Meredith Duncan, Shreveport, La., 33-35--68
Maru Martinez, Venezuela, 34-35--69
Alena Sharp, Canada, 34-36--70
Adrienne Gautreaux, Mabank, Texas, 36-34--70
Emily Bastel, Upper Sandusky, Ohio, 34-36--70
Brandi Jackson, Belton, S.C., 35-35--70
Erica Battle, Columbia, S.C., 36-35--71
Lindsey Wright, Australia, 35-37--72
Meaghan Francella, Port Chester, N.Y., 35-37--72
Carol Semple Thompson, Sewickley, Pa., 35-37--72
Kelly Robb, Concord, Mass., 35-38--73
Sarah Huarte, Shingle Springs, Calif., 36-37--73
Michelle Sperry, Poway, Calif., 36-37--73
Rebecca Hudson, England, 38-35--73
Alana Condon, Kent, Wash., 36-37--73
Mollie Fankhauser, Columbus, Ohio, 35-39--74
Lisa Ferrero, Lodi, Calif., 37-37--74
Kim Benedict, Rochester Hills, Mich., 35-39--74
Emma Duggleby, England, 40-34--74
Erica Blasberg, Corona, Calif., 37-37--74
C J Kim, Diamond Bar, Calif., 36-39--75
Michaelyn Morgan, Austin, Texas, 36-39--75
Lindsay Morgan, Walla Walla, Wash., 37-38--75
Ashley Hoagland, Palmetto, Fla., 39-36--75
Natalie Aber, Akron, Ohio, 40-35--75
Hwanhee Lee, Cerritos, Calif., 36-39--75
Elizabeth Janangelo, West Hartford, Conn., 40-36--76
Avery Kiser, San Deigo, Calif., 36-40--76
Gina Umeck, Redlands, Calif., 37-39--76
Sukjin-Lee Wuesthoff, Toms River, N.J., 38-38--76
Meghan Jolly, Hickory, N.C., 36-41--77
Sarah Jones, Wales, 37-40--77
Laura Shanahan-Rowe, Bedford, N.H., 40-37--77
Jeanne Cho, Gainesville, Fla., 39-38--77
Katie Futcher, The Woodlands, Texas, 37-40--77
Stella Lee, Irvine, Calif., 37-40--77
Ashley Prange, Noblesville, Ind., 35-42--77
Suzi Spotleson, Canton, Ohio, 37-40--77
Virada Nirapathpongporn, Thailand, 41-36--77
Sunny Oh, Torrance, Calif., 37-40--77
Candy Herrera, Apple Valley, Calif., 38-39--77
Lindsay Knowlton, Canada, 36-41--77
Carmen Alonso, Spain, 39-39--78
Stephanie Cheney, Mill Valley, Calif., 40-38--78
Jennifer Thompson, Timonium, Md., 42-36--78
Stacy Snider, Grandville, Mich., 38-40--78
Kailin Downs, Bend, Ore., 39-39--78
Elizabeth Allen, San Diego, Calif., 39-39--78
Carlie Butler, Australia, 39-39--78
Kerry Smith, England, 39-39--78
Mika Takayama, Alameda, Calif., 37-41--78
McKenzie Dyslin, Grand Junction, Colo., 39-39--78
Seema Sadekar, Canada, 39-40--79
Blair O'Neal, Tempe, Ariz., 38-41--79
Mallory Underwood, Montgomery, Texas, 42-38--80
Lindsay Hulwick, Littleton, Colo., 41-39--80
Linda Chen, Cerritos, Calif., 42-38--80
Anna Grzebien, Providence, R.I., 43-37--80
Sarah Seo, Lima, Ohio, 39-41--80
Alison Curdt, St. Louis, Mo., 40-40--80
Terra Petsinger, Arvilla, N.D., 40-41--81
Sarah Martin, Grosse Ile, Mich., 42-39--81
Jamee Plastow, Dushore, Pa., 40-41--81
Laura Wells, Scotland, 40-41--81
Katie Allison, Mahwah, N.J., 38-44--82
Anne Sander, Seattle, Wash., 41-42--83
Ali Kicklighter, Deland, Fla., 42-42--84
Samantha Maust, Somerset, Pa., 45-39--84
Briana Vega, North Andover, Mass., 40-45--85
Marilyn Hardy, Houston, Texas, 41-44--85
Sarah Hollowell, Houston, Texas, 42-44--86



 

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