Auburn Freshman Shirley Defeats Future Teammate Hage In 20 Holes
David Shefter, USGA
– The great adventure continued for Margaret
on Thursday morning. When
she begins classes next week at Auburn,
she'll have plenty of good subject matter for her first writing
|Margaret Shirley might only be 5-foot tall,
but she showed plenty power and tenacity in her 20-hole victory
over Nicole Hage on Thursday. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)
having her dad lose his driver's license prior to their scheduled
plane flight to having her clubs lost by the airlines for 24 hours
to facing a future teammate, it's all added up to a quite a week
at The Kahkwa Club for the 104th U.S. Women's Amateur.
to make things even more exciting, she needed 20 holes Thursday
to beat Auburn
sophomore-to-be Nicole Hage
in the second round.
by two holes standing on the 16 th tee, Shirley
rallied to square the match
at 17, then converted a 4-foot birdie putt at the par-4 second to
secure the victory.
it ended, Shirley
breathed a sigh of relief, knowing she had less than an hour to
prepare for her round-of-16 encounter against fourth-seeded Sun-Young
Yoo of Korea, a 5-and-3 winner over Kailin Downs.
said Shirley, who lost the match to Yoo, 7 and 5. Yoo was the equivalent
of 6 under par for 13 holes to Shirley's 1 over par. Both players
eagled the par-5 eighth hole for a halve.
“That was the best [tee] shot I hit all day there [at the 20th hole].
I couldn't find a fairway today to save my life. I don't know what
else to say.”
all of 5 feet tall and 115 pounds who looks more like a 12-year-old
than an 18-year-old college freshman, was only 40 yards from the
green on the 313-yard, par-4 hole. A perfect wedge approach left
her a relatively easy birdie opportunity. And when Hage missed her
18-footer for birdie, the Roswell,
native ended the drama.
two hugged and shared a few warm thoughts before parting ways. Next
week, they'll be teammates on a squad that also includes Diana Ramage,
who advanced to the third round Thursday with a 19-hole win over
2004 USA Curtis Cupper Elizabeth Janangelo. Hage stuck around to
watch Shirley and Ramage in their afternoon matches. Both saw Ramage
post a come-from-behind 19-hole win over Karen Dennison.
just an absolutely fantastic player,” Shirley
said of Hage, an 18-year-old
from Coral Springs,
“She made some of the most clutch putts I've seen someone make today.
was tough [playing a teammate]. You want to see them do well too.
I guess it's a win-win for Auburn
today, but we also have one
going home too. It's hard playing someone you are a friend with
and a teammate.”
the match, the two chatted quite a bit until things got tight at
the end. The laughter and joking stopped and both focused at the
task at hand.
had a good time,” said Shirley.
the match, Auburn coach Kim
went up to Jan
the USGA Rules Official in charge of the match, and told him jokingly,
“I'll have to keep them apart because they might get in a boxing
match out there.”
|The very stylish Nicole Hage consistently
outdrove her opponent, but wound up on the losing side of a
20-hole thriller. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)
contest was full of punches and counter punches as the two traded
turns with the lead on the front nine. Both players birdied the
second hole, Shirley from 10 feet and Hage from three.
At the third hole, Hage drained a 19-foot downhill par putt for
a halve. Neither player enjoyed more than a one-hole lead until
Hage went 2-up after 13. It stayed that way until the comeback when
Hage bogeyed 16 and 17.
At 17, she was no more than 100 yards from the green with a wedge
and overshot the green, chunked the ensuing chip and missed a 35-footer
for par while Shirley chipped it to six inches from some 100 feet
didn't play very smart the last few holes,” said Hage, the Southeastern
Conference's co-player of the year this past season and a second-team
by the National Golf Coaches Association. “That kind of does it
for you. I just got quick. It's the same problem [I've had before].
Quick hands, shut the face.
played great and I'm really
excited about this coming year. She's going to be great to have
on the team and we're going to do well this year as a team.”
for the week, Hage added: “I was very happy with my game, my short
game especially how it came around towards the end. I was driving
the ball really good and really far and straight. All
and all it's been a good week.”
Women's Amateur is all about survival and you could say Shirley
has done that just to get
to northwestern Pennsylvania.
Her father, William,
couldn't locate his driver's license when the two were checking
in for their flight from Atlanta
last Friday. They had to eat
the airline tickets and Margaret
wound up flying alone that
day while William
went on Saturday to get another license, but Margaret
had to play a practice round
that day with borrowed clubs from the pro shop because hers didn't
arrive in Erie
on Friday night.
finally made it to Erie
by Sunday, flying to Pittsburgh
and renting a car for the
two-hour-plus ride to Kahkwa Club. On Sunday, with Shirley
's clubs now in hand and dad
on the bag, the two finally could play one practice round together
to get a feel for the Donald
just thrilled to death to be here,” said Shirley.
“Just to be in the field is an honor, much less going on [to the
third round]. It's just been one heck of a day.”
it's not over yet.
is a USGA staff writer.
E-mail him with questions and comments at email@example.com.