Jane Park, McCurdy In U.S. Women's Amateur Final

 

Erie, Pa. Jane Park, 17, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., will face Amanda McCurdy, 20, of El Dorado, Ark., Sunday in the 36-hole final of the 2004 United States Women's Amateur at the 6,365-yard, par-72 course at The Kahkwa Club.

 

Park defeated her USA Curtis Cup teammate, Sarah Huarte, 22 of Shingle Springs, Calif., 2 up. McCurdy defeated Paula Creamer, 18, of Pleasanton, Calif., 6 and 4.

 

With her patented shades and white bucket hat, Jane Park has been one cool customer this week at the Women's Amateur, reaching the final for the second consecutive year. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)

Park will be making her second straight appearance in the Women's Amateur final and her third appearance in the final of a USGA championship. She was runner-up in the U.S. Girls' Junior in July.

 

Park trailed in the match until the last three holes. Huarte held as much as a 2-up lead after 13 holes until she finished with four bogeys and a double bogey. Park went ahead for the first time on the par-4 16th hole when her five beat Huarte's six. Park and Huarte matched bogeys on the 17th when Park watched in disbelief as her 40-foot first putt rolled down the hill and off the green.

 

“That almost gave my family a heart attack,” said Park, whose father, Frank Park, was among the spectators and whose cousin, Jung Park, has been her caddie all week.

 

One up at the 18th, Park hit safely to the green and was conceded a par 4 when Huarte three-putted from eight feet.

 

“It was really like I wasn't nervous at all today,” said Park. “At any point in the match. [It] didn't matter where I was. I just got up to the tee and I was hitting great tee shots all day.”

 

McCurdy defeated the highly acclaimed Creamer, another USA Curtis Cup player, with consistent play while Creamer had a shaky putter.

 

McCurdy said she played with Creamer once three years ago in a junior tournament.

“She was good then and I've followed her since,” said McCurdy. “I knew she was a good player, but obviously I'm good enough to get to this point too. I don't have as much experience but I try not to sell myself short. She's human just like every other player and I knew if I went out there … and got up on her early that would be good. And that's what I did.”

 

The short, but powerful Amanda McCurdy has played the underdog role to perfection and will now play for the Women's Amateur title on Sunday at The Kahkwa Club. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)

McCurdy jumped to a 1-up lead at the third hole with a par. Her par on the fifth hole put her two up. The pair switched holes when McCurdy won the seventh with a par and Creamer made a nice birdie to win the eighth. A 4-foot birdie putt on the ninth gave McCurdy a 3-up lead. When Creamer bogeyed three of the last five holes, McCurdy had the match.

 

“When Paula missed that putt (on the seventh hole), even though she won the next hole, I still think something in her mind changed and in mine too,” said McCurdy, speculating on when she gained the advantage in the match.

 

McCurdy, the 2004 Arkansas Women's Amateur Champion, was largely overlooked as a contender when the championship began but is beginning to attract notice.

 

“That's the whole underdog story,” said McCurdy. “This is a really good town. I'm short and southern and no one knows me. I try to be polite. My parents did very well for me and taught me how to treat people. And, yeah, it's been a joy I've had so much support. Dads bring out their sons and go, oh, look, she's short, you should see her. I think it's more of a height thing is why they like me, but it's pretty neat.”

 

McCurdy is 5-foot-1 and Park, at 5-foot-5, virtually towers over her.

 

Park could become only the third player to lose in a U.S. Women's Amateur final and come back the next year to win the championship. JoAnne Gunderson in 1957, Donna Horton in 1976 and Cathy Sherk in 1978 are the three who made such a comeback.

 

Asked if she had any good luck charms for Sunday's final, Park said, “I am wearing a very cute shirt tomorrow. I got it before I came here. It's probably my favorite shirt and I was saving it for tomorrow. I said, ‘I'm going to win my match today and wear this cute shirt tomorrow and be on TV.' ”

  

Asked her strategy for the match, Park said, “Par is good. I think par will come out on top tomorrow.”

 

The 36-hole final between Park and McCurdy begins at 8:45 a.m., EDT. 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.

 

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

Semifinal Round

Upper Bracket

Amanda McCurdy, El Dorado, Ark. (152) def. Paula Creamer, Pleasanton, Calif. (152), 6 and 4

Lower Bracket

Jane Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (146) def. Sarah Huarte, Shingle Springs, Calif. (149), 2 up

  

Erie, Pa. – Pairing for the 36-hole final of the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at the 6,365-yard, par 72 course at The Kahkwa Club.

 

Amanda McCurdy, El Dorado, Ark. (152) vs. Jane Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (146)

 

 

 

 

 

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