Thompson, 12, Makes Quarterfinals At U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship
Carmel, Ind. – Twelve-year-old Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., won two matches Thursday to become the youngest quarterfinalist in the 106-year history of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at the 6,580-yard, par-72 Crooked Stick Golf Club.
Thompson defeated Lizette Salas, 18, of Azusa, Calif., in the afternoon’s third-round match, 5 and 4, to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round. In the morning, she defeated the championship’s other 12-year-old, Pearl Jin of San Gabriel, Calif., 5 and 4. Thompson was four under par in the morning match and two under par in the afternoon, with the usual match-play concessions.
“Definitely, I’m really happy with the way I’m hitting it right now,” said Thompson. “I’m just really happy I made it this far.”
Amanda Blumenhurst, 20, of Scottsdale, Ariz., who also advanced to the quarterfinals, was stunned by Thompson’s achievement. “I have a 12-year-old sister and I can’t imagine her playing in the state championship, let alone the Women’s Amateur,” Blumenhurst said. “I think it’s great.”
Another quarterfinalist, Mina Harigae, 17, of Monterey, Calif., said, “I feel old. I see 12-year-olds everywhere.”
Thompson faces Ha Na Jang, 15, of Korea in the quarterfinals.
Blumenhurst, a member of the winning 2006 USA Curtis Cup team, defeated Marci Turner, 21, of Tompkinsville, Ky., 6 and 5, in the third round. She faces Jennie Lee, 20, of Henderson, Nev., her teammate at Duke University.
“Jennie and I play together three times a week,” Blumenhurst said. “You just have to play the course. I have a lot of friends in this championship and it’s another aspect of match play you have to face.”
Harigae, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion, defeated Vicky Hurst, 17, of Melbourne, Fla., in the third round, 1 up. She won the match with a four-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th hole.
“I can’t believe I pulled it off,” Harigae said. “I hit a 7-iron and it had a nice fade to four feet. That’s going down in my history book.”
Harigae faces Maria Uribe, 17, of Columbia in the quarterfinals. While she has never played against Uribe, she knows her. “She’s passionate,” said Harigae. “She’s like me. We’re very emotional.”
Uribe defeated Emma Jandel, 19, of Dayton, Ohio, 1 up.
Defending champion Kimberly Kim, 15, of Hilo, Hawaii, survived a tough second-round match against Japanese star Rikako Morita, 17. Morita was 1 up going into the 18th hole when she hit her tee shot into a water hazard. Kim hit her drive deep into the left rough, about three feet from going out of bounds, then laced a 196-yard 4-iron shot to within 25 feet of the hole. She squared the match with a par 4 to Morita’s 5, then won on the 20th hole when she made a 6-foot birdie putt.
“That was so cool,” said Kim of her approach shot. “That was amazing. I wasn’t aiming for the green. I was aiming left and pushed it.”
Morita plans to turn professional if she qualifies for the Japan LPGA tour in October.
In the third round, Kim defeated Alison Walshe, 22, of Westford, Mass., 4 and 3. “My competitor was not easier,” Kim said, “but I played better my last nine.”
Of her role as the defending champion Kim said: “This year it’s harder. My first match was so hard, it was like the finals. My comfort level is never high. I never want to be a cocky person. I don’t want to be a cocky golfer because golf will show you.”
Kim faces Jennifer Song, 17, of Korea in Friday’s quarterfinal round. The Women’s Amateur concludes with a 36-hole final on Sunday.
Story written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carmel, Ind. – Results of Thursday’s second and third rounds of match play at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship played at the 6,580-yard, par-72 Crooked Stick Golf Club:
Vicky Hurst, Melbourne, Fla. def. Kristina Wong, Vestal, N.Y., 5 and 4
Mina Harigae, Monterey, Calif. def. Rebecca Kim, Tigard, Ore., 4 and 3
Maria Jose Uribe, Colombia def. Candace Schepperle, Birmingham, Ala., 2 and 1
Emma Jandel, Dayton, Ohio def. Sydnee Michaels, Temecula, Calif., 21 holes
Lizette Salas, Azusa, Calif. def. Kira Meixner, Canada, 19 holes
Alexis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla. def. Pearl Jin, San Gabriel, Calif., 5 and 4
Ha Na Jang, Korea def. Mi Jung Hur, Korea, 6 and 5
Tiffany Joh, San Diego, Calif. def. Andrea Messer, Largo, Fla., 6 and 5
Jennie Lee, Henderson, Nev. def. Margaret Shirley, Roswell, Ga., 3 and 1
Sara-Maude Juneau, Canada def. Jane Rah, Torrance, Calif., 1 up
Amanda Blumenherst, Scottsdale, Ariz def. Jenny Suh, Fairfax, Va., 5 and 4
Marci Turner, Tompkinsville, Ky. def. Mallory Blackwelder, Versailles, Ky., 1 up
Jennifer Song, Korea def. Michelle Shin, Cape Coral, Fla., 1 up
Nicole Smith, Riverside, Calif. def. Shanshan Feng, Hilton Head Island, S.C., 1 up
Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii def. Rikako Morita, Japan, 20 holes
Alison Walshe, Westford, Mass. def. Catherine O'Donnell, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 6 and 5
Harigae def. Hurst, 1 up
Uribe def. Jandel, 2 up
Thompson def. Salas, 5 and 4
Jang def. Joh, 20 holes
Lee def. Juneau, 6 and 5
Blumenherst def. Turner, 6 and 5
Song def. Smith, 2 up
Kim def. Walshe, 4 and 3
Carmel, Ind. – Pairings for Friday’s quarterfinal round of match play at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship played at the 6,580-yard, par-72 Crooked Stick Golf Club (all times Eastern):
1 p.m. – Mina Harigae, Monterey, Calif. vs. Maria Jose Uribe, Colombia
1:10 p.m. – Alexis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla. vs. Ha Na Jang, Korea
1:20 p.m. – Jennie Lee, Henderson, Nev. vs. Amanda Blumenherst, Scottsdale, Ariz.
1:30 p.m. – Jennifer Song, Korea vs. Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii