Wie, Pressel, Creamer, Park Advance in U.S. Women's Amateur

 

Erie, Pa. Michelle Wie headed a list of heralded USA players and new international names to advance in the 2004 United States Women's Amateur Championship at the 6,365-yard par-72 course at The Kahkwa Club.

 

Wie, 14, of Honolulu, Hawaii, defeated Brazilian-born Angela Park, 15, of Torrance, Calif., 1 up, in a tight match that nearly went extra holes.

 

“I have three words for her,” said Wie of Park. “Nerves of steel. I hope I can keep the flow going.”

Wie was 3 up with three holes to play when Park birdied from eight feet on the 16th and from 25 feet on the 17th. One hole behind at the 18th, Park's greenside chip from the trees ran over the hole before it trundled to the bottom of the green, some 45 feet away.

 

“My heart just fell to my toes on that one,” said Wie. “I wasn't hitting the ball great today but what I did great was I found the right part of the rough.”

 

Paula Creamer, 18, of Pleasanton, Calif., Morgan Pressel, 16, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Jane Park, 17, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., led the American contingent.

 

Creamer defeated Katie Futcher, 23, of The Woodlands, Texas, 2 and 1.

 

“My pace, my speed on the greens has been awful,” said Creamer. “The greens were faster than I thought they would be. My pace is better today.”

 

Pressel, the 2004 North & South Women's Amateur Champion, eased by Laura Matthews, 24, of Canada, 5 and 3.

 

Jane Park, runner-up in this championship last year, defeated Terra Petsinger, 21, of Arvilla, N.D., 3 and 2.

 

“If I were to grade my game today it would be a C-plus,” said Park. “It took me nine holes to get warmed up. I was struggling today.”

 

Park saved pars with several putts ranging from six to 20 feet on the front nine before cruising to the win.

 

In the only match that could truly be called an upset, Hsaio-Ching Lu, 16, of Chinese Taipei, who nabbed the final qualifying spot in a morning playoff, defeated medalist Amie Cochran, 18, of Torrance, Calif., 1 up. Lu birdied the second hole to win the lone remaining spot in match play in an 11-player face off.

 

“Perseverance, never give up,” she said through an interpreter.

 

Two other highly rated international players, Ya-Ni Tseng, 15, of Chinese Taipei, and Julieta Granada, 17, of Paraguay, advanced after winning close contests.

 

Granada was three holes down at the turn to Gabby Wedding, 20, of Wilmington, Ohio, but squared the match on the 18th hole with a par. She won on the 22nd hole after hitting her pitching wedge to within three feet of the hole for a birdie. Wedding and Granada combined for 13 birdies in their match.

 

“It was just close all the way, it was just, ‘Go for it, we need another birdie,' ” said Granada. “I bet it was fun to watch, but to play it was so tough. I'm glad it's over.”

 

Tseng, the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Champion, defeated Jennifer Hong, 17, of Windermere, Fla., 2 up.

 

Three down at the turn, Tseng was four under par on the remaining eight holes. She eagled the par-5 14th hole, hitting a gripped-down 5-wood from 210 yards to within 12 feet of the hole.

 

“I feel I need to be more consistent,” said Tseng through an interpreter. “When you are three down, it's really hard to pull it back [to all square]. I was lucky on the back nine today.

 

Match play continues with two rounds on Thursday and ends with a 36-hole final on Sunday. 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 question or comments at rglenn@usga.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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