3 Things to Know for Stroke Play

By Greg Midland, USGA

| Aug 07, 2022 | UNIVERSITY PLACE, WASH.

3 Things to Know for Stroke Play

122nd U.S. Women's Amateur Home

This championship was last held in the Pacific Northwest – at Portland (Ore.) Golf Club – in 2015, the same year that Chambers Bay hosted the U.S. Open, won by Jordan Spieth. The popular public course overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains in University Place, Wash., takes its turn again in the spotlight, this time with a field of 156 of the world’s best female amateurs.

The Women's Amateur is the fourth USGA championship to be played at Chambers Bay and the second in as many years (2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball). During the practice rounds, players have remarked on the beauty and the rugged terrain that make Chambers a visual stunner and a challenging walk. Those who absorb the strategic nuances of this 2007 Robert Trent Jones II design will be among the contenders to hoist the Robert Cox Trophy when things conclude at week’s end.

Here are three things to know heading into the first round of stroke play.

Pure Putting

One aspect of Chambers Bay that viewers will notice when Golf Channel coverage begins on Wednesday is the resurfaced greens. During the 2015 U.S. Open, some of the greens were bumpier than expected or desired, mostly because of the type of grass used and the low mowing heights. The decision was made to close the course from October 2018 to April 2019 to complete the regrassing project, changing the greens from the previous fescue to native Poa annua.

The results have been overwhelmingly positive. The new greens are smooth, vibrant in color and able to withstand plenty of foot traffic. For this championship, the talk around the greens is where it belongs: How the slopes and undulations will challenge the players vying for the most coveted title in women’s amateur golf.

Game Within a Game

Like all USGA amateur championships, the Women’s Am is a tale of two events: 36 holes of stroke play followed by multiple rounds of single-elimination match play. While it’s certainly nice to have a higher seed, experienced competitors know that the key is just to make it into the knockout stage. From there, any one of the 64 competitors remaining has the game to come away with the title—look no further than defending champion Jensen Castle, who won last year at Westchester (N.Y.) Country Club as the No. 63 seed after surviving a 12-for-2 playoff just to get into the match-play bracket.

What does it take to make the cut? Three of the last five years, 6 over par was the magic number to at least get into a playoff for the remaining match play spots. If form holds this year on the par-73 Chambers Bay, that would be a two-round total of 152. The fairways here are generous – they were the third-easiest to hit among all PGA Tour events in 2015. So look for players’ approach shots, recovery efforts and putting to make the difference.

Wilson’s Quest

Yana Wilson is one of just two American-born players to win a USGA individual title in 2022, a fact that reflects the global strength of the game. The 15-year-old from Henderson, Nev., begins first-round play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at 1:06 p.m. PT.

In addition to trying to continue her run of championship-caliber play, Wilson is also seeking to join Eun Jeong Seong in 2016 as just the second player to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior in the same year. The competition will be fierce. To accomplish that feat, Wilson will have to get past a field that includes nine USGA champions, nine Curtis Cup Team members and five players in the top 15 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

The stage is set for an outstanding week in the Pacific Northwest, with the first round getting underway at 7 a.m. PT on Monday.

Greg Midland is the USGA's editorial director. Email him at gmidland@usga.org.