Notebook: Lots Of Amateurs, But Not A Record
By Alex Miceli and Rhonda Glenn
North Plains, Ore. – While a number of amateurs are expected to
make the cut in this 58th United States Women’s Open,
it won’t be a record. In 1954, the second year the United
States Golf Association conducted the Women’s Open, 22 amateurs
made the cut.
Many times, more than 10 amateurs have made the cut, including
1953, 1955-1962, 1964-1966, 1968, 1973-74, 1981-82 and 1986.
The 1986 total of 11 was the last time the number of women amateurs
making the cut was in double digits. Since then, six made
the cut in 1987, and five in 1991 and 1998.
The lowest number to make the cut was in 1989, when only one, Vicki
Goetze, survived the 36-hole cut. Last year, just two amateurs
made the cut.
More Amateur News
Twenty-one amateurs are part of the field in this year's championship.
Not since 22 amateurs completed 72 holes in the 1954 Open at Salem
Country Club have this many amateurs qualified for the tournament.
Of those 21, 14 are playing in their first Women's Open and their
feelings and thoughts are very positive no matter what the numbers
on their scorecards total.
Allison Fouch is one of the first timers. She just finished her
junior year at Michigan State and had to qualify to get a spot.
"It was everything I could have hoped for - it has exceeded all
expectations," said Fouch after shooting a 7-over-par 78. "I
hit a good shot and then all of the sudden there was some clapping
and then it just erupted with this huge roar, which I never heard
before. And I got a little weak in the knees. I turned to my brother/caddie
and said 'Wow, that was awesome.' Making birdie on the last hole
was definitely the icing on the cake. It was phenomenal."
Another first timer is Leah Hart from Toowoomba, Australia. She
just finished her freshman year at Augusta State where she was named
NCAA All-Independent Player of the year, Freshman of the Year and
an NCAA All-Independent first team selection.
"The golf part wasn't so good - I shot an 86 today," said Hart.
"It was a bit of an awakening to the U.S. Open -- it's not easy
out there -- the rough's thick, the greens are fast and if you're
not hitting the ball particularly straight, then it's quite easy
to rack up some high numbers. I had a tough day and I wasn't hitting
it the best. I have to say that was the most enjoyable 86 I had."
Annie Thurman won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links championship
last year in Sunriver, Ore. She just finished her junior year at
Oklahoma State University.
"It was fun out there; I struggled a little bit. I could have shot
a better score," said Thurman of her 78 in the first round. "It
was a good experience and we're looking to play a little better
[Friday]. It's fun to be out here inside the ropes."
Professional Angela Jerman could empathize with every one of the
14 women who are playing in their first Women's Open. She was in
the same boat two years ago when she was an amateur at Pine Needles
and then again at Prairie Dunes last year.
After a year on the LPGA Tour, Jerman believes it has been a big
boost having the experience of playing in the Open.
"Definitely coming into this week it's given me a lot more confidence
because I'm comfortable with the situation," said Jerman. "I know
if I make a bogey it's OK; you can just make some birdies and make
up for it.
"As an amateur you still just want to have fun and learn and now
this is of course my livelihood, so I want to do as well as I can
week in and week out. I'm treating this as any other tournament,
but of course the course is the toughest course we play all year
and so you just have to be very patient."
The other amateurs are listed below, with a star designating first
Leigh Anne Hardin
Brandi Jackson is playing in her final event as an amateur and
her first U.S. Women's Open. Jackson, who was runner-up at last
year's U.S. Women's Amateur, thought she missed out on an exemption
into this year's U.S. Women's Open by not winning her final match.
But while looking online to print out the application in March for
the Women's Open, Jackson was stunned to find that she was in fact
exempt for the Open and delayed her professional debut on the Futures
"Before I knew I had the exemption I went to Futures Tour qualifying
in the fall and qualified for that, and was just going to go ahead
and play that as soon as I graduated. And try to qualify for this
as a professional," said Jackson. "Then when I found out I had the
exemption, I waited to turn professional after this event."
Jackson never tried to qualify for the Women's Open in the past
because of summer classes during her college career. So Thursday
was her first opportunity as a player in the Open.
"It's was OK; it was a bit of a struggle," said Jackson. "I was
playing good the first seven or eight holes -- I was 1 under. After
that I just hit one or two shots a little off line and started making
Jackson finished 7-over 78.
During at least one round, the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge
will measure as the longest ever played for a U.S. Women's Open.
At 6,550 yards, the course is 10 yards longer than The Merit Club
that hosted the 2000 Women's Open. The change comes from a difference
in the yardage of the par-3 10th, which is scheduled to be played
at 197 yards some days and 156 yards on others. In the first round
it played to 156 yards and only 6,509 - versus the 197 yards and
6,550 yards it will play to on other days.
Alex Miceli is a free-lance writer with the Golf Press Association.
Rhonda Glenn is the Manager of Communications for the USGA.