Notebook: McCurdy Can Taste Fruits Of Women's Amateur Success
– The perks of amateur success haven't gone unnoticed for Amanda
McCurdy this week at the 104th U.S. Women's Amateur. At the players'
dinner last Sunday, she saw the USA Curtis Cup members donned in
their red blazers. On Friday, she saw remaining Curtis Cup players
wearing their USA raingear.
she desperately wants a taste of it.
|Amanda McCurdy of El Dorado, Ark., is the
least heralded of the four semifinalists at the 2004 U.S. Women's
Amateur, but she is relishing the underdog role. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)
couple of more victories and McCurdy could see some of the spoils,
especially since the winner of the championship is virtually assured
a spot on the 2004 USA Women's World Amateur Team that will compete
in Puerto Rico in late October. It could also go a long way in earning
an invite to the 2006 Curtis Cup Match at Bandon Dunes Resort in
eventually where I want to be before I go pro,” said McCurdy, who
will be a junior this fall at the University
“And that's my goal to make it to that team. I'm pretty patriotic
too, so that kind of makes me want to be in their shoes one day.
why I'm here. This is what's going to help me. You've got to make
a name for yourself sometime and this is a pretty good stage to
do it at.”
the U.S. Women's Amateur is considered the premier worldwide event
in amateur golf for females. It draws an international field and
the best from the American ranks. And a victory often is a life-changing
experience for that individual.
from the rural town of El Dorado,
it would be the ultimate prize for someone who was off the radar
screen in terms of notoriety seven days ago.
after beating Sun-Young Yoo of Korea in the quarterfinals on Friday,
McCurdy is two victories shy of the championship. Her next foe is
2004 USA Curtis Cupper Paula Creamer and should she win, McCurdy
would face either Jane Park
also Curtis Cup
participants this past June.
expects me to win so there's really not much pressure except what
I put on myself,” said McCurdy, who was six under par through 10
holes against Yoo before settling for a 3-and-2 victory (four over
for 16 holes). “I think that's a pretty darn good position to be
in. I'm the sleeper. I'm the underdog. I love it because it's been
that way all my life.”
grew up at the El Dorado Lions Golf Course, a public facility in
her hometown, which is at the very bottom of the state some 10 minutes
from the Louisiana
border. The town has 23,000 residents and more than one traffic
have three movie theatres and a Super Wal-Mart,” explained McCurdy.
“But other than that, it's pretty small. I like small things.”
began playing competitive tournaments at age 13 and by the time
she reached high school, she had stopped playing tennis and turned
her focus totally to hitting the small, white, dimpled ball. McCurdy
wasn't known nationally because she only competed in two American
Junior Golf Association events. She chose to play competitions within
her own state.
she drew the attention of several regional universities, notably
Louisiana State, Tulsa and Arkansas. She originally committed to
LSU, but after attending a Arkansas-Auburn football game, decided
to change her mind.
was sick about that decision for days,” she said. “But I'm a huge
Hog (Arkansas) fan. I'm an Arkansas girl through and through.”
week, McCurday and her father, David, made the 1,000-plus-mile trip
in their car to Erie. Amanda drove 14 of the 16 hours and it took
a day and a half to get here. They stayed overnight in Columbus,
Ohio, and arrived mid-day on Saturday, the first day of official
think that's why I've lasted so long,” said McCurdy, “because I
hated that drive.”
she win two more matches, it might not be so bad. Especially with
that big trophy in the back seat.
days, Americans have gone crazy with the various low-carb diets.
Whether it's Atkins or the South Beach diet, people are staying
away from sugars that add weight to their frames.
so for 17-year-old semifinalist and 2003 Women's Amateur runner-up
just eat anything,” said Park, who does avoid soda and candy. “I
just try to eat a lot of carbs … especially this week. I never really
pound on the carbs like outside of tournaments, but this week I
have to eat a lot of carbs. [Thursday night] I had like three plates
full of macaroni. And two pizzas. And some steak.”
favorite spot has been Golden Corral, a buffet-style restaurant
where Park can feast to her heart's desire. She's been there five
or six times.
place is awesome,” said the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., resident.
“The [only] bad thing about that place is the guy at the steak line,
you ask him for a medium and he gives you like rare and well done.
He doesn't know how to cook a steak. I could cook it better myself.”
White And Blue
the first time since 1994, all four semifinalist in the Women's
Amateur are Americans. International players have dominated USGA
events this year, winning four of the seven competitions, with just
Ryan Moore taking an amateur event (U.S. Amateur Public Links).
Last year, Virada Nirapathpongporn of Thailand walked away with
the title. In 2002, Maru Martinez of Venezuela advanced to the semifinals
and in 2001 Nicole Perrot of Chile reached the final. International
players have dominated the Girls' Junior of late, winning the last
of the four semifinalists also played on the USA Curtis Cup team
(Paula Creamer, Sarah Huarte and Jane Park).
really says something about our team,” said Park, who helped the
USA win the Cup for a fourth consecutive Match against Great Britain
and Ireland this past June at Formby Golf Club in Merseyside, England.
“And how strong we were.”
Huarte: “It was a great team and I think everyone who was on it
deserved to be on it. And I'm so glad to see both Paula and Jane
in the semis. I hopefully will get to play both.”
Curtis Cuppers competed this week, with Brittany Lang and Annie
Thurman, who went 3-1 in the Match, both failing to make the match-play
cut. Elizabeth Janangelo and Michelle Wie lost in the second round.
The eighth player, Erica Blasberg, turned pro after the U.S. Women's
Than Bag Toters
good caddie can often be the difference in advancing to the next
round or going home. Competitors at USGA competitions take a multitude
of approaches when it comes to using a caddie.
Some like Charlotte Mayorkas of Murrieta, Calif., a UCLA senior-to-be,
chose to carry her own clubs like she did at last year's Women's
Amateur. Others use a parent. Nicole Hage had her mom, Sybelis,
carrying the clubs, while quarterfinalist Amanda McCurdy is using
her father, David, as is Beth Al
Ramage has friend and former Auburn school mate Mike Brice on the
bag this week. Brice graduated in 2000 and is now the assistant
golf coach at the University of North Florida.
Creamer is using boyfriend and fellow amateur golfer Tarik Can,
who will be attending the University of Texas this fall.
get along great with my caddie,” said Creamer, a 2004 USA Curtis
Cupper and a semifinalist in her last four USGA amateur competitions,
including this week. “It's all about keeping calm on the golf course.”
Wie hired Greg Johnston, who is the regular caddie for two-time
U.S. Women's Open champion and LPGA Tour star Juli Inkster. Johnston
and Wie hooked up last year at the LPGA Tour stop in Portland. He
will again caddie for Wie at the Wendy's Championship in Dublin,
Ohio next week while Inkster takes a break from the circuit.
Wies had reportedly hoped to hire Johnston for the season, but he
is loyal to Inkster, for whom he has worked for the past 10 years.
17-year-old Sun-Young Yoo hooked up with Kahkwa Club caddie Tyler
Burniston. Yoo has given Burniston a lot of the credit for her putting
prowess this week on the tricky Donald Ross greens. Burniston told
the Erie Times-News that Yoo was “the best putter I've
seen. Her pace, her reads, her unbelievably smooth stroke … it's
said the Kahkwa caddies have had advantage over those who had never
seen the course before this week.
knowledge of the course is just so much better,” Burniston told
the Times-News, “and it has helped all the girls who have
Shefter is a USGA staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments