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Storylines From 2008 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship

The average age of the 156 competitors in the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur is 20.17 years old.

There are 79 players competing in their first U.S. Women’s Amateur, and 32 playing in their first USGA championship.

The youngest player in the field is 12-year-old Gabriella Then of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The elder stateswoman of the field is 2007 USGA Senior Amateur runner-up Robyn Puckett, 61, from Irvine, Calif.

Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., leads the list of 13-year-olds in the field. Thompson, who last year became the youngest player to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open, also played in the 2008 championship. She won the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford, Conn., last week.

There are eight other USGA champions in the field: Meghan Bolger, 30, of Oakland Park, Fla. (2006 and 2007 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs); Carolyn Creekmore, 56, of Dallas, Texas (2004 Senior Women’s Amateur); Mina Harigae, 18, of Monterey, Calif. (2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links); Tiffany Joh, 21, of San Diego, Calif. (2006 and 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links); Kristen Park, 15, of Buena Park, Calif. (2007 U.S. Girls’ Junior); Jenny Shin, 16, of Torrance, Calif. (2006 U.S. Girls’ Junior); Anna Schultz, 52, of Rockwall, Texas (2007 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur); and 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kimberly Kim, 16, of Pahoa, Hawaii, who became the youngest winner in the championship’s history when she won at age 14.

There is also one sister of a USGA champion in the field. Nicole Ferrero, 19, of Lodi, Calif., is playing in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur. She played in the 2006 U.S. Girls’ Junior, a championship her sister Lisa won in 2000.

This is not the first appearance in a USGA championship this year for many of the players in the field at Eugene Country Club. Of the 156 competitors:

-26 competed in the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links

-27 competed in the 2008 U.S. Girls' Junior

-24 competed in the 2008 U.S. Women's Open

-10 competed in the 2008 Women's Open and the Women’s Amateur Public Links

-Six competed in the 2008 Women’s Amateur Public Links and the Girls' Junior

-Four competed in the 2008 U.S. Women's Open, WAPL and Girls' Junior

-10 competed in the 2008 U.S. Women's Open and Girls' Junior

There are 28 players in this week’s field who have played in a U.S. Women’s Open. They are: Sarah Almond, 16, of Albemarle, N.C. (2008); Amanda Blumenherst (2006, 2007, 2008); Meghan Bolger (2007); Sydney Burlison, 18 of Salinas, Calif. (2003); Cydney Clanton, 19, of Rockwell, N.C. (2008); Lauren Doughtie, 21, of Suffolk, Va. (2008); Kathleen Ekey, 21, of Wadsworth, Ohio (2008); Tara Goedeken, 22, of Dodge City, Kan. (2008); Meghan Grehan, 19, of Mamaroneck, N.Y. (2004, 2005, 2006); Selanee Henderson, 21, of Temecula, Calif. (2007); Ha-Na Jang, 16, of Korea (2007, 2008); Ayaka Kaneko, 18, of Japan (2006); Taylore Karle, 18, of Scottsdale, Ariz. (2006); Kimberly Kim (2006, 2007, 2008); Erynne Lee, 15, of Silverdale, Wash. (2008); Jennie Lee (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008); Joanne Lee, 19, of San Carlos, Calif. (2006, 2007, 2008); Tiffany Lua, 17, of Rowland Heights, Calif. (2007 and 2008); Sydnee Michaels, 20, of Temecula, Calif. (2006, 2007, 2008); Paola Moreno, 22, of Colombia (2007, 2008); Cyd Okino, 14, of Honolulu, Hawaii (2008); Kristen Park, 15, of Buena Park, Calif. (2008); Emily Powers, 20, of Quincy, Ill. (2008); Jane Rah, 17, of Torrance, Calif. (2006); Jenny Shin, 16, of Torrance, Calif. (2008); Victoria Tanco, 14, of Argentina (2008); Alexis Thompson, 13, of Coral Springs, Fla. (2007, 2008); and Alison Walshe, 23, of Westford, Mass. (2008).

Four players are making a return to Eugene Country Club. Laura Coble, 44, of Augusta, Ga., Carolyn Creekmore, Mina Hardin, 47, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Anna Schultz all played in the 2002 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur conducted at the club.

Seven members of the USA Curtis Cup team that won the 2008 Match played on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland are in the field: Blumenherst (also played in 2006); Bolger; Harigae; Joh; Kimberly Kim; Jennie Lee (also played in 2006); and Walshe. From the Great Britain & Ireland side, Breanna Loucks, a 20-year-old from Wales who played in the 2006 and 2008 Curtis Cups, is in the field.

Blumenherst, Kimberly Kim and Jennie Lee also represented the USA at the 2006 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. Other players to have played in the 2006 WWATC are: Carlota Cignanda (Spain); Loucks (Wales); Kira Meixner (Canada); Belen Mozo (Spain); Azahara Munoz (Spain); and Cyna Marie Rodriguez (Philippines).

Jennie Lee also played for the USA in the 2007 Copa de las Americas. Carolyn Creekmore represented the USA in the 2005 Copa. Foreign players to compete are: Paola Moreno (Colombia, 2005 and 2007); Stephanie Sherlock (Canada, 2007); Victoria Tanco (Argentina, 2007).

Those celebrating birthdays the week of the championship are: Sydney Crane (turns 21 Aug. 10, the day of the championship final); Olivia Lansing (turns 20 on Aug. 4); Lisa McCloskey (turns 17 on Aug. 7); and Anna Schultz (turns 53 on Aug. 8).

Caddie duty at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur is a family affair. There are 54 fathers, 12 mothers, two uncles, one stepfather, one brother, one fiancée and one husband on the bag this week.

There are 11 countries represented at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Korea; Philippines; Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Wales.

Other interesting storylines to follow at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship:

Mallory Blackwelder, 21, of Versailles, Ky., comes from an impressive golf family. Her mother, Myra, played on the LPGA Tour and is now the coach at Mallory’s school, the University of Kentucky, and her father, Worth, caddies for Juli Inkster.

Christine Cho, 17, of La Crescenta, Calif., can thank her doctor for her golf career. When she was little, her physician recommended she play golf because she had a coughing problem.

Christine Curley, 19, of Vienna, Va., also turned to golf for medical reasons. After she tore the ACL in her left knee while playing basketball during her sophomore year of high school, she turned to competitive golf. She is playing in her first USGA championship.

Kendall Dye, 21, of Edmond, Okla., played the spring semester of her freshman season at the University of Oklahoma with a broken ankle.

Kate Hildahl, 20, of Tualatin, Ore., might have a slight advantage this week – she attends the University of Oregon, just around the corner from Eugene Country Club. Hildahl, who won the 2008 Oregon Women’s Amateur, is playing in her first USGA championship.

Andrea Kaelin, 20, of Fleming Island, Fla., is playing in her first USGA championship. It wasn’t an easy path to get in the field – she was unable to play a practice round at her sectional qualifying site and didn’t arrive at her hotel until 3:30 a.m. the morning of the qualifier. She shot a 72 to earn a place in the field.

Cindy LaCrosse, 21, of Tampa, Fla., is playing in her second Women’s Amateur. Her father, Doug, played in last week’s U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he tied for 34th. He and Cindy’s mom, Pam, flew to Oregon after the conclusion of the Senior Open.

Ashley McKenney, 18, of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the Arizona High School State Championship in 2006 on the same day her brother Tim won the boys’ championship, a double feat that landed them in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd.

Azahara Munoz, 20, of Spain, is the reigning NCAA Division I individual champion.

Whitney Neuhauser, 20, of Barboursville, Va., is playing in her first Women’s Amateur after failing to qualify by one stroke the last three years. Neuhauser is used to putting in a lot of effort, though. When she’s not playing golf, she spends most of her time riding a tractor for her dad on the 1,200-acre farm he manages.

Tracy Nichols, 25, of Canada, is playing in her first Women’s Amateur. When she’s not playing golf, she’s introducing the game to juniors through her job at the First Tee of Greater Sacramento.

Linda Olsen, 55, of La Quinta, Calif., was older than most of this week’s field when she started playing golf at age 30. Her first USGA championship was the inaugural U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, in 1987, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. 

Jane Rah, 17, of Torrance, Calif., just had knee surgery for a torn meniscus in her left knee in mid-May and is playing in her second event since having surgery.

Milena Savich, 18, of Carmel, Ind., is playing in her first USGA championship. She had hoped to play in the Women’s Open last month and waited on the first tee at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn., but no one withdrew from the championship.

At age 44, Kathy Schowe of La Quinta, Calif., is playing in her first Women’s Amateur and her first USGA championship since the 1980 U.S. Girls’ Junior, when she played as Kathy Fuertges. After playing professionally for several years, she regained her amateur status in 2000.

Thuhashini Selvaratnam, 32, of Sri Lanka, won her country’s Open Amateur Ladies Championship at the age of 12, which earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest player to win a national championship. She also helped Arizona claim the 2007 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.

Marissa Steen, 18, of West Chester, Ohio, plays the trumpet and marched in the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day.

Kristen Svicarovich, 23, of Hillsboro, Ore., is a graduate student at the University of Texas, where she is working toward a masters’ degree in transportation engineering. While at Texas, she is serving as a graduate assistant for the women’s golf team.

Sarah Whitney, 19, of Hingham, Mass., is playing in her first USGA championship this week. She’s already trying to help others young girls get more opportunities to play. On Aug. 13, she will host the first all-girls tournament at her home club, the South Shore Girls Junior Invitational. She has gotten local businesses to sponsor the event. It’s not her first venture at organizing something – she founded the girls’ golf team at her high school.



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.).

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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