Creamer, Park, Huarte, Pressel Advance, Wie Ousted in Women's Amateur

 

Erie, Pa. – Michelle Wie, 14, of Honolulu, Hawaii, three-putted the 18th hole from 15 feet to lose her second-round match in the United States Women's Amateur Championship to Korean-born In-Bee Park, 16, of Henderson, Nev., 1 up.  The match ended Wie's reign over spectators at the 6,365-yard, par-72 course at The Kahkwa Club.

Striding to the locker room, Wie said, “I gave her that match tied up in a box with a pretty pink ribbon.”

Paula Creamer, 18, of Pleasanton, Calif., Jane Park, 17, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Morgan Pressel, 16, advanced to Friday's quarterfinal round.

Also advancing were Diana Ramage, 22, of Fayetteville, Ga., Sun-Young Yoo, 17, of Korea, Amanda McCurdy, 20, of El Dorado, Ark., Sarah Huarte, 22, of Shingle Springs, Calif., and Beth Allen, 22, of San Diego, Calif.

Wie was never down in her second-round match until the final hole. As late as the 16th tee, she had a 2-up lead on Park, the former U.S. Girls' Junior Champion.  But Park birdied the 338-yard par four to pull within one hole, then won the 17th with a par. 

With the match all square, both players were on the green of the par-4 18th.  Park was 60 feet from the hole.  Wie was 15 feet away and seemingly in command.  Park putted up to within inches for a conceded par. Wie's birdie attempt picked up speed at the hole and rolled six feet past.  Her second putt caught the edge and spun away as a gallery of some 600 seemed to groan in unison.

“I wish I didn't have to lose with a three-putt green,” Wie said.  “I thought I hit it (the putt) good.  I didn't think it was going that far past.  I just gave myself downhill, left-to-right breaking putts all day and it's really hard to make those putts.”

Although she exited stroke-play qualifying rounds 12 strokes behind the medalist, Wie generated excitement, attracting hundreds of spectators to a championship that is usually sparsely attended in the early rounds.  Nearly as many children as adults made up her galleries throughout her four days of play, running across the fairways and tramping through the rough in her wake.

In-Bee Park, instead of Wie, went into the third round but fell to Pressel, 3 and 2. At 16, Pressel is the youngest player remaining in the field.

“I wanted to play her (Wie),” said Pressel. “I wanted to beat her.  I think if I had beaten her again, people would have started talking.”  Pressel defeated Wie in the third round of the 2003 U.S. Girls' Junior.

Huarte, the 2004 NCAA Division I Women's champion, chipped in twice during her round and defeated Julieta Granada, 17, of Paraguay, the reigning U.S. Girls' Junior Champion, 3 and 2.  Huarte's 4-up lead after the 10th hole shrunk to two after the 15th before she captured the 16th with a birdie to win.

           

Allen advanced to the quarterfinal defeating Jenna Pearson, 18, of Wheaton, Ill., 1 up.  Allen was 1 up at the 18th hole when Pearson hit her approach shot through the green into a bunker.  Allen hit a wedge to within 12 feet of the hole.  Pearson 's bunker shot ended a foot from the hole but Allen easily got down in two putts for a matching par and the win.

Creamer outlasted Brittany Lincicome, 18, of Seminole, Fla., 2 and 1.  “It was a good match,” said Creamer.  “She missed several short putts at the beginning and it set the pace of the match.

“It's time for something else besides semifinals,” said Creamer, who was a semifinalist last year and at the last two U.S. Girls' Juniors. “We'll see what happens.”

Park, runner-up in the 2003 Women's Amateur, eased past Mina Harigae, 14, of Monterey, Calif., 1 up.  Harigae was down two holes after the 15th.  She won the next two holes with a bogey and a par to square the match, but Park won the 18th with a par to Harigae's bogey to win.

“I wasn't nervous at all (at the 18th),” said Park.  “I just had a mindset that I was 1 up.”

 

In Friday's quarterfinal round, Creamer plays Ramage, Yoo faces McCurdy, Huarte goes against Pressel and Allen will take on Park.

The Women's Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association.  Ten are strictly for amateurs. 

Story written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at rglenn@usga.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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