Creamer, McCurdy, Huarte, Jane Park in Semifinals of U.S. Women's Amateur

 

Erie, Pa. – Paula Creamer, 18, of Pleasanton, Calif., Amanda McCurdy, 20, of El Dorado, Ark., Sarah Huarte, 22, of Shingle Springs, Calif., and Jane Park, 17, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., are semifinalists in the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at the 6,365-yard, par-72 course at The Kahkwa Club.

 

Jane Park is one of three USA Curtis Cuppers to advance to the semifinals at the U.S. Women's Amateur at The Kahkwa Club. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)

It's the first time since 1994 that all of the semifinalists are Americans.

 

Creamer defeated Diana Ramage, of Fayetteville, Ga., 3 and 2, to enter the semifinals for the second straight year.  Creamer led all the way.  She took a 3-up lead at the par-5 12th hole with a birdie and maintained the lead until she closed out Ramage at 16. Ramage had won her three previous matches in 19 holes.

 

Creamer was three under par, with the usual match-play concessions.

 

“I'm just feeling really confident, very comfortable out here,” said Creamer.  “I really like the golf course, especially when your short game is good … knowing that my speed control's been very good.”

 

Creamer will face Amanda McCurdy in Saturday's semifinal.  McCurdy overwhelmed her opponent, Sun-Young Yoo, of Korea, and never trailed. She was 6 up after the 10th hole, then lost three straight holes to Yoo.  But Yoo was simply too far behind and the match ended, 3 and 2. McCurdy was the equivalent of 4 under par through 16 holes.

 

“I had given myself enough of a cushion that I was probably going to be okay,” said McCurdy. “At some point I was probably going to tie her (on a hole) again or beat her.”

 

A junior-to-be at the University of Arkansas, McCurdy is the only one of the four semifinalists who was not a member of the 2004 USA Curtis Cup team.  The Arkansas Women's Amateur Champion is playing in her first U.S. Women's Amateur.

 

Sarah Huarte, the 2004 NCAA Division individual champion, won a tense battle with 16-year-old Morgan Pressel, of Boca Raton, Fla.   Huarte never led in the match until the 17th hole. Pressel took a 1-up lead at the second and went 2 up at the fourth, winning both holes with birdies.  Huarte squared the match with a par on the seventh and an eagle on the par-5 eighth, hitting a 4-iron second shot that ended five feet from the hole. 

The two remained all square until Pressel won the 15th with a birdie, but Huarte bounced back to birdie the 16th and again square the match.  At the 17th, Huarte hit one of the best chips of her life.  Her ball was settled in the rough and she faced a severe uphill shot of some 15 yards with a landing area of less than 10 feet.  She chipped to within three feet of the hole, taking a crucial 1-up lead with a par when Pressel bogeyed. Both players parred the 18th, Pressel from a downhill lie in the bunker, and Huarte won, 1 up.

 

“My heart was pounding over that chip,” Huarte said of the shot on the 17th. “I felt it.  And over the putt and the next four shots.  Gosh, that was a pretty clutch shot.  That was just a big hole there.”

 

“I played pretty well most of the day,” said Pressel, fighting tears. “ Sarah just beat me today.”

 

Huarte will play her Curtis Cup teammate, Jane Park, in Friday's second match.  Park defeated Beth Allen, 22, of San Diego, Calif., 4 and 2.  Playing par golf, Park took a 3-up lead at the seventh hole and Allen never recovered.

 

“This is the biggest field for the amateurs and the strongest field,” said Park.  “Three Curtis Cuppers in the semifinals really says something about our team and how strong we were.”

 

Park, runner-up in last year's Women's Amateur, spoke of what it takes to get to the final.  “I know what it takes, it takes a lot of energy,” she said. “This tournament is all about endurance and mentality.”

 

The winners of Saturday's matches will advance to the 36-hole final on Sunday.  The U.S. 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.

 

Erie, Pa. – Results of the quarterfinal round of the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur at the 6,365-yard, par-72 course at The Kahkwa Club.

 

Quarterfinal

Upper Half

Paula Creamer, Pleasanton, Calif. (152) def. Diana Ramage, Fayetteville, Ga. (147), 3 and 2

Amanda McCurdy, El Dorado, Ark. (152) def. Sun-Young Yoo, Korea (143), 3 and 2

Lower Half

Sarah Huarte, Shingle Springs, Calif. (149) def. Morgan Pressel, Boca Raton, Fla. (146), 1 up

Jane Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (146) def. Beth Allen, San Diego, Calif. (152), 4 and 2

Erie, Pa. – Pairings for the semifinal round of the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur at the 6,365-yard, par 72 course at The Kahkwa Club (All times EDT).

Semifinal

10:00 am -- Paula Creamer, Pleasanton, Calif. (152) vs. Amanda McCurdy, El Dorado, Ark. (152)

10:15 am -- Sarah Huarte, Shingle Springs, Calif. (149) vs. Jane Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (146)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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