Blumenherst, Na Share Lead Midway Through Second Round
Eugene, Ore. – Amanda Blumenherst, 21, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Stephanie Na, 19, of Australia, both finished at 4-under 140 to share the lead midway through Tuesday’s second round of stroke play at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, being played at the 6,484-yard, par-72 Eugene Country Club.
Blumenherst followed up her first-round 6-under 66 with a 2-over 74. The three-time collegiate player of the year and 2007 Women’s Amateur runner-up ran into trouble with consecutive double bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes. But Blumenherst wasn’t discouraged by the round.
“I actually played well, I just had basically a train wreck on three holes,” said Blumenherst. “I really didn’t have any bogeys except for the doubles, so that’s going to put you back a few. I fought back, which is great, but a few things could have gone a little better.”
For the two-time USA Curtis Cupper, whose 66 on Monday tied the Women’s Amateur 18-hole scoring record, the most important result of her two days of stroke play qualifying was that she advanced.
“Match play is really the only part of the tournament that really matters,” said Blumenherst. “I would have liked to have been low stroke, but I got into match play and tomorrow is when the tournament really begins.”
If Blumenherst does earn medalist honors, she will share it with Na, the reigning Australian Stroke-play champion who is playing in her first USGA event.
For Na, who has spent seven weeks in North America playing in events, perhaps the toughest part was making it through her sectional qualifier in Georgia last month, when she shot 72 to earn the last qualifying spot.
“I was really nervous for the whole week and a half leading up to it,” said Na. “I have never really had to qualify to play in an event and if I hadn’t qualified it would have cut my trip short. It was really relieving when I qualified.”
She has made the most of her chance thus far, following up her first-round 3-under 69 with a 1-under 71 Tuesday.
Na came into Eugene after a disappointing week at the Canadian Amateur that included a final-round 84.
“The last day I completely fell apart,” said Na. “Nothing was working for me. It was hard to get my confidence back. But I took that that score out of me and it was good to get it out. I guess I just worked on a few things to get a few things back in line.”
One stroke off the co-leaders pace was 22-year-old Canadian Kira Meixner, who followed up an even-par 72 with a 3-under 69.
Alexis Thompson, 13, of Coral Springs, Fla., who won the Girls’ Junior a week ago, shot a 1-under 71 to finish at 148 and should easily advance to match play. Another player hoping to become the seventh golfer in history to win a second USGA championship in the same season, Tiffany Joh, 21, of San Diego, Calif., had an afternoon starting time. Joh, who won her second U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links title in June, opened with a 2-over 74.
Blumenherst’s 2008 USA Curtis Cup teammate, Alison Walshe, 23, of Westford, Mass., who had a first-round 68, also had an afternoon starting time Tuesday, as did 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, Kimberly Kim, 16, of Pahoa, Hawaii, who opened with a 10-over 82.
After the conclusion of the second round of stroke play Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Women’s Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play. The first round of match play is scheduled for Wednesday, the second and third rounds will be played Thursday and the quarterfinal matches are on Friday. The semifinals will be played Saturday and the 36-hole championship final will be played Sunday.
Story written by Beth Murrison of USGA Media Relations. For questions or comments, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.