Notebook: Women's Amateur A Homecoming For Two Contestants
– There's no question the biggest gallery of the day at the 104th
U.S. Women's Amateur on Monday belonged to 14-year-old phenom Michelle
Wie. Everyone wants to catch a
glimpse of the next big thing in women's golf.
a large group of people also were following the last group off the
first tee in the morning wave of the first round of stroke-play
qualifying at The Kahkwa Club.
two players in that group drew plenty of local interest: Becky
Dwyer. Berzonski, who lives in North
is the only “local” resident in the field of 156, while Dwyer has
deep roots in this northwest Pennsylvania
though Dwyer grew up and still lives in Kailua,
her father and family all are from Erie. Her uncle, Bob
is a Kahkwa member and her father, Jack,
caddied at the Donald Ross-designed course 50 years ago.
it was ironic that two players with Erie
roots wound up grouped together
for the stroke play portion of the championship.
had a lively crowd,” said Dwyer, a recent UCLA graduate who shot
6-over-par 78 on the 6,325-yard, par-72 layout. “It was fun.”
the 21-year-old Berzonski left the ninth green and headed toward
No. 10 tee, she was greeted by a local fan. Al
l the television stations were
getting footage of the local girl who is entering her senior season
at North Carolina-Wilmington.
was kind of nice to see the people out there today,” said Berzonski
after signing for a 76. “I definitely felt [the pressure] on the
first few holes. It took me a few holes to just get into the groove
of things. I finally started swinging better and got more comfortable
with my game.”
round included just one birdie, a chip-in at the 16th hole.
was a nice boost,” added Berzonski, a first-time Women's Amateur
contestant. “I could not drop a putt today. I can chip them in I
best part of the week is not having to go back to a hotel after
competing. She just heads for her grandmother's house in Erie. “It's really neat to come
home after the tournament and just relax at the house,” she said.
though she has played Kahkwa some 20 times over the years, Berzonski
did get some local advice from Dr.
a member. He gave her tips on the tricky greens as well as hitting
different shots around the course. Her stepfather, Gary
caddied in the practice rounds, with her father, John,
taking over on Monday after making the three-hour drive from Johnstown,
caddied at the club in his
youth. On Tuesday, Berzonski's pro is coming from Columbus,
to get here is such an honor,” she said. “To be in Erie
is just great. It really tops
off the summer.”
was hoping one more member of her family would be in her gallery.
her grandmother passed away, which happened to be the last time
the 23-year-old had been back in Erie.
was really planning on me coming,” said Dwyer, who plans to turn
pro next week. “I know she's watching me from above.”
it's been a special week for the Dwyer family. It's been a chance
to catch up on old times and see many friends and relatives. In
terms of the Kahkwa Club, Dwyer remembers coming here as a child,
but it wasn't to play golf.
would go to the pool,” she said. “We would have grilled cheese sandwiches
and french fries. This is why we really came [to the club].”
week, she is staying with her uncle Bob
and getting the chance to
eat some home-cooked meals instead dining out or eating room service.
nice to eat healthy,” said Dwyer. “When you are staying in a hotel
you tend to eat a lot of [junk]. It's great to have some healthy
salad made by my hands.”
stroke-play grouping at the Women's Amateur had an interesting twist.
an 18-year-old from Seminole, Fla.,
played with 55-year-old Carol
a seven-time USGA champion.
and Lincicome share a USGA record as having the lowest 18-hole score
by an amateur in a Women's Open at 66. Lincicome posted hers in
July at The Orchards while Thompson 's feat came 10 years ago at
Indianwood Country Club.
didn't talk about my 66, but I talked to her about it,” said Thompson,
competing in her 97th USGA competition. She had an 80 on Monday
compared to Lincicome's 73. “It's fun for me to play with her because
she hits it a mile. And she played well. She didn't finish as well
as she would have liked, but she is a good player.”
wasn't the first encounter for the two competitors. They were grouped
in the Harder Hall Invitational in January down in Florida.
talked a little bit on the tee this morning,” said Lincicome, who
plans to turn professional this fall. “It's a pleasure to play with
her. She is so nice. Every time I see her she has been so wonderful
to me. It was a thrill to play with her.”
though Lincicome has had plenty of success in junior tournaments,
this is her first Women's Amateur. The Women's Open was also her
first and the first time she even tried to qualify. It's all been
part of a step-by-step process.
waited until my game was more mature and I knew I was playing pretty
good,” said Lincicome. “I was ready [for this]. Hopefully I am ready
[for a professional career].”
are a lot of proud fathers on the bag this week. But one caddie
is quite well known outside of the circle of women's amateur golf.
Former tennis great Ivan Lendl,
owner of 94 career tournament wins and 270 straight weeks as the
No. 1 player in the world, is now simply another proud papa.
This week, he's “looping” for 13-year-old daughter Isabelle,
the youngest competitor in this year's Women's Amateur. In fact,
has been jaunting around the country to watch his daughters – 14-year-old
Marika reached the third round of the Girls' Junior and competed
at the Rolex Tournament of Champions – play golf tournaments.
caddied so much lately,” says Lendl, himself a strong player who
has won his share of prize money in celebrity competitions.
performed quite admirably in her first Women's Amateur, shooting
a 76 to tie for 36th among the 156 competitors.
could have been better,” said Isabelle,
the second of Lendl's five daughters. “I missed a couple of short
biggest intangible Ivan
is trying to teach his daughters is course management. That, in
itself, cost Isabelle
a couple of strokes on Monday. She took too much club at No. 11
and made a double bogey at the par 3 and then followed that up with
another bogey at 12. She did make three birdie putts on the back
nine and holed a long putt from the fringe at 18 for a par.
just don't know where to pick their target, so they have the biggest
margin for error,” said Ivan. “So that's where I try to
for nerves, Ivan
said there's more pressure in friendly matches at home. Ivan
often teams with his 11-year-old
Daniella against Marika and Isabelle. And the two elder siblings
don't like to lose to their little sis'.
not fun to lose to her,” Isabelle
said of Daniella, who has
won 11 of 13 tournaments she has entered this summer.
“When we win, we rub it in.”
for advice, Isabelle
has talked to several more-experienced players this week, including
2004 USA Curtis Cupper Elizabeth Janangelo, who also hails from
just said, ‘Go get ‘em,’ ” said Isabelle.
goal is to make match play, something she failed to do two weeks
ago at the Girls' Junior where she missed the cut by two strokes.
But she watched how Marika handled herself and soaked it up through
osmosis. Nevertheless, the week has been a thrill.
been a lot of fun,” she said.
couple of players recorded eagles on Monday, but only Nicole
Hills Village, Colo.,
did it on a par 4. At the 354-yard fourth hole, the 23-year-old
graduate used a 54-degree
wedge from 87 yards out, drawing quite a reaction from the gallery,
which was following her better-known fellow-competitor, 14-year-old
Wie had a large gallery following her around the course, but Cutler
outplayed her, shooting a
1-under 71 to Wie's 75.
was going to turn pro last
fall, but she suffered a wrist injury in an accident. She will turn
pro after the Women's Amateur and start preparing for LPGA
Mayorkas of Murietta, Calif., showed up on Monday without the benefit
of a practice round, but still managed to shoot a respectable 78.
Mayorkas flew from Toledo, Ohio, to Erie on Sunday after competing
in the LPGA Tour's Jamie Farr Classic on a sponsor's exemption.
She made the cut and finished 56th, but it also meant she would
not have a practice round prior to the Women's Amateur.
wasn't that hard,” said the first-team All-American from UCLA.
“I came out a little early and saw some of the holes. I had
a [yardage] book with me.”
toughest thing might have been fatigue. Mayorkas not only just finished
playing a 72-hole event, but she also carried her own bag, something
she did at last year's Women's Amateur at Philadelphia Country Club.
got a little on the back nine,”
said Mayorkas, who led the Bruins to the NCAA Division I team title
in May. She will be a senior at UCLA this fall. “It got a
little frustrating missing those putts.”
Them While They're Hot
a large crowd for the first round of stroke-play qualifying, The
Kahkwa Club printed up 2,000 sheets that had the starting times
and groupings. By the afternoon, those sheets had been all gobbled
up, forcing the club to print up more copies. The Women's Amateur
has drawn huge interest from the local media, with the Erie
Times-News putting the championship on the front page of the
entire paper. The television stations have also been out in earnest
covering the event.
is a USGA staff writer.
E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.