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1996

Kelli Kuehne

Defending champion Kelli Kuehne, 19, of McKinney, Texas, won the 96th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, defeating Marisa Baena, 19, of Pereira, Colombia, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final at Firethorn Golf Club.

The match ended on the 146-yard, par-3 35th hole. Baena, who was 1 down, pulled her 8-iron shot into a water hazard and made a double bogey. Kuehne hit her ball onto the green and was conceded a par and the match.

Both golfers exhibited streaks of brilliant play. Kuehne birdied three of the first four holes to lead, 3 up. Baena birdied the fifth and ninth holes to pull within one hole, then eagled the par-4 10th hole by sinking an 80-yard wedge shot to square the match.

Kuehne, however, ended the morning round with two pars, a birdie, and a conceded birdie on the final four holes to go 3 up.

With her lead reduced to 2 up at the 28th hole, Kuehne won the hole with a par and kept the lead until the match ended. She repeatedly sank putts ranging from six to 35 feet to squelch her opponent.

Kuehne's route to the Robert Cox Cup, the trophy for the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, included a 3 and 2 semifinal victory over Jenny Lee of Austin, Texas. Lee had been one of the three co-medalists in the 36-hole qualifying at Firethorn with rounds of 69-72-141. Tying Lee for medalist honors were Grace Park of Phoenix, Ariz., (69-72-141), and Kellee Booth of Coto de Caza, Calif., (70-71-141).

Baena was in the final by virtue of a 3 and 2 semi-final win over Joellyn Erdmann of Little Chute, Wis.

Erdmann had been a starring player in what was clearly the most dramatic match of the championship, a quarterfinal battle against Grace Park that ended on the 27th hole.

In winning her second straight Women's Amateur, Kuehne became the 11th player to win back-to-back titles. Earlier in the summer she also captured the British Ladies' Open Amateur Championship to achieve another historical ranking. Kuehne is one of only eight players to have held both national titles at the same time.

Those players are Dorothy Campbell (1909 British, 1909 U.S.), Pamela Barton (1936 British, 1936 U.S.), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1946 U.S., 1947 British), Louise Suggs (1947 U.S., 1948 British), Barbara McIntire (1959 U.S., 1960 British), Catherine LaCoste (1969 U.S., 1969 British), Carol Semple Thompson (1973 U.S., 1974 British), and Kuehne (1996 U.S., 1996 British).

"Starting with the 28th hole, you could feel the heat on everything you did," said Kuehne. "I knew that hole was big. I just tried to take advantage of the opportunities she gave me."

"I tried my best to win," said Baena, "but I couldn't because she putted better than I did."

 
Championship Facts

U.S. Women's Amateur

HISTORY: The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of the United States Golf Association’s original three championships. It was first conducted in 1895, shortly after the inaugural U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. The Women’s Amateur has since been conducted every year except 1917-18, when it was temporarily suspended because of World War I, and 1942-45, when it was suspended because of World War II.

PAR & YARDAGE: Yardage for the Eugene Country Club will be set at 6,484 (stroke play) / 6,516 (match play) yards, par 72.

ARCHITECT: Opened in 1926, the course was designed by H. Chandler Egan. In 1967, Robert Trent Jones Sr. reversed the routing of the original Egan design (i.e., No. 18 tee essentially became the first tee, etc.).

COURSE SET-UP –
Fairways – Cut to ˝ inch
Tees and collars of greens – Cut to 3/8 inch
Putting greens – Prepared to be firm and fast to measure approximately 11 to 11 1/2 feet on the USGA Stimpmeter
Intermediate rough – Cut to 1 ˝ inches, approximately 6 feet wide along fairways
Primary rough – Cut to 2 ˝ to 3 inches
Player courtesy walks – Cut to 1 ˝ inches, approximately 6 feet wide
The championship setup results in a USGA Course Rating™ of 78.1 and a Slope Rating® of 144

FORMAT: The Women’s Amateur is conducted with 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying. The low 64 scorers then advance to match play, with the champion determined by a 36-hole match-play final.

WHO CAN ENTER: The championship is open to female amateurs who have USGA handicap indexes not exceeding 5.4.

ENTRIES: Entries for the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur closed on June 18. There were 960 entries received for the 2008 championship, just shy of the record 969 entries received for the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

 

 
 

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