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Lua Takes Early Clubhouse Lead For Medalist Honors At U.S. Women's Amateur

St. Louis – Tiffany Lua, 18, of Rowland Heights, Calif., carded a 1-under-par 70 in Tuesday’s second round of qualifying to take the early lead for stroke-play medalist honors at the 109th U.S. Women’s Amateur being conducted at Old Warson Country Club.

Lua, an incoming freshman at the University of California-Los Angeles, posted a 36-hole total of even-par 142 for a one-stroke lead over 15-year-old Victoria Tanco of Argentina and Sara-Maude Juneau, 21, of Canada.

Another 78 golfers had afternoon starting times, including first-round leader Amy Anderson, 17, of Oxbow, N.D., the newly minted U.S. Girls’ Junior champion. Anderson, who shot a 68 on Monday over the 6,422-yard, par-71 layout, is vying to become just the third player in USGA history to earn medalist honors at the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur in the same year.

Michiko Hattori and Vicki Goetze achieved the feat in 1986 and 1990, respectively. No player has won the U.S. Girls’ Junior and Women’s Amateur in the same year.

Following Tuesday’s second round of qualifying, the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play, which begins Wednesday and concludes Sunday with a 36-hole championship match.

Despite gray skies and muggy conditions, the forecasted morning thunderstorms stayed north of the golf course.

“On the range, it looked like we were going to be called off [the course] within five holes,” said Lua.

Lua, a three-time U.S. Women’s Open qualifier (2007, 2008 and 2009), registered three birdies and an eagle, which came at the par-5 16th hole when she holed a 110-yard shot from the fairway with a pitching wedge. It came four holes after she four-putted the par-5 12th hole for a double-bogey 7.

“It was a good way to come back,” said Lua. “The pins were a lot tougher today. The wind was blowing a little bit, which is good because I guess it pushes the storm away. But it makes it a bit harder to judge your clubs.”

Lua’s summer has been a mixture of junior and regular amateur events. She tied for third at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., before losing to medalist and future UCLA teammate Stephanie Kono in the second round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. She missed the cut at the Women’s Open and played last week’s Canon Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. Next week she’ll represent the USA at the Junior Solheim Cup in Aurora, Ill.

“I feel good,” said Lua about her mindset going into match play. “I have little kinks to work out with my swing. I feel good about my putting and short game.”

Other notable scores from Tuesday’s morning wave included an even-par 71 (146 total) from Jennifer Song, the 2009 WAPL champion and low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open, and a 74 by 14-year-old Alexis Thompson, which put the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion at 8-over 150. The best comeback came from 13-year-old Casie Cathrea of Livermore, Calif., who followed an opening-round 81 with a 70.

Lua, Cathrea and Tanco, the 2008 AJGA Player of the Year, were the only players to better par among the morning wave.

Story written by USGA Digital Media staff writer David Shefter. E-mail him with questions or comments at dshefter@usga.org.

 

 

 
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: Old Warson Country Club will play at 6,422/6,468 yards and par of 35-36—71.

ARCHITECT: Old Warson Country Club was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened in 1954.

COURSE SET-UP –The USGA Course Rating® for the Women’s Amateur Championship at Old Warson Country Club is 78.1 and USGA Slope Rating® is 140.

Tees and fairways, height of grass – 7/16 inch

Collars, height of grass – 0.2 inch

Putting greens, speed – 11.5-12 feet on USGA Stimpmeter

Intermediate Rough – 1.25 inches (3 feet width)

Primary Rough – 3 inches

FORMAT: The U.S. 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 PLAY: The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship is open to female amateurs who have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4.

ENTRIES: A total of 955 contestants entered the 2009 championship. The record of 969 was set in 2006.

 

 
 

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