There must be something about the number 10 that agrees with Latanna Stone. Ten years ago Stone, of Riverview, Fla., qualified to play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur as a 10-year-old. Today she set another milestone, posting a 36-hole total of 10-under-par 136 after a sparkling second round of 8-under 65. Stone earned co-medalist honors with Alice Ziyi Zhao of the People’s Republic of China and Laney Frye of Nicholasville, Ky., who will occupy the top three seeds in match play, beginning on Wednesday.
Stone built on her solid opening round of 71 yesterday to card eight birdies and set the championship record for the lowest single round in relation to par. It also is a new women’s competitive course record at Chambers Bay, beating the 67 set on Monday by Zhao.
“Just like yesterday, everything was working well,” said Stone. “I was hitting the ball great and putted really well. Putting kind of saved me a little bit today. But it’s just fairways and greens and keeping it simple.
Not to be outdone, Zhao also finished 36 holes at 10 under par, which is the lowest score in relation to par in championship history. Zhao, who at 13 is the second-youngest player in the field, followed up her opening-round 67 with a 4-under 69.
“I had a couple of mistakes, but otherwise I played pretty solid today,” said Zhao. “I think I missed two short birdie putts. I really like match play, so hopefully I can put together another couple good rounds.”
The long-hitting Frye was the last to join the party at 10 under par. Playing in the group behind Zhao, Frye had a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole that would have put her at 11 under par. It slid by, resulting in the three-way tie at the top.
“The conditions were mild today,” said Frye. “I think I got the better end of the draw going early/late. Not a ton of wind. It was kind of in a different direction, so that took a little adjustment. But the course is perfect. It’s getting firmer and faster, all you can ask for.”
Three strokes back from the co-leaders at 7-under 139 are Kelsey Bennett, of Australia, along with two teammates on this year’s victorious USA Curtis Cup Team, Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J., and Amari Avery of Riverside, Calif.
Stone, Ganne and Avery were among eight players in the field who competed in the 2022 Curtis Cup Match at Merion, and seven of them advanced to match play. Also in that group from the victorious USA Team are Rachel Kuehn of Asheville, N.C.; defending champion Jensen Castle of Columbia, S.C.; and Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tenn. Annabel Wilson, who played on the Great Britain & Ireland Team, also advanced to the match-play bracket.
There was an 8-for-4 playoff to determine the final match-play spots that began on the par-4 10th hole. Jieni Li, Jennifer Rosenberg and Camryn Carreon all made par to qualify. Alice Hodge was eliminated with a double bogey, and Victoria Zheng, Julia Misemer, Emma Abramson and Anika Dy made bogey to move on to the second playoff hole. Playing the par-3 17th, all but Abramson made par and the playoff was suspended due to darkness. It will resume on Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. PT with Zheng, Misemer and Dy playing the par-5 18th hole to determine the final match-play qualifier.
It’s on to match play. The Round of 64 begins at 9 a.m. PT on Wednesday and will be broadcast on Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m. PT (6-9 p.m. ET).
At 13 years, 6 months, Zhou is the youngest medalist/co-medalist in U.S. Women’s Amateur history.
Since 2010, only two medalists or co-medalists in stroke play have advanced to the quarterfinals. The last medalist to win the championship was Amanda Blumenherst, in 2008.
The only mid-amateur (age 25 and older) to make match play is 26-year-old Aliea Clark, of New York, N.Y. The runner-up in last year’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, Clark is halfway through a two-year graduate program at NYU, where she played a semester on the golf team after playing three years as an undergraduate at UCLA. Clark shot 75-72—147.
Ami Gianchandani had a roller-coaster day on her way to earn the No. 46 seed. The Yale University senior began her round on the 10th hole and shot a 6-over 42 on her opening nine holes. After making the turn, she made eagle on the par-5 first hole to jump-start a comeback and shoot a bogey-free 32 on her inward nine.
Three players shot bogey-free rounds in stroke play: Angela (Yilin) Liu and Lauren Gomez on Monday, and Latanna Stone on Tuesday.
After turning heads with a 1-over 74 yesterday, seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port, the oldest player in the field, struggled in the second round to miss match play. She will now set her sights on a championship she has won four times – the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, to be held Sept. 17-22 at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla.
Eun Jeong Seong’s mark of being the only player to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur in the same year is safe until at least 2023. The reigning Girls’ Junior champion, Yana Wilson of Henderson, Nev., missed the cut. Runner-up Gianna Clemente bounced back from the disappointing loss to Wilson two weeks ago at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., shooting 73-74—147.
“It's a pretty wicked place, to be honest. You can't get over the view. You just look out and you're amazed by it. But yeah, it's a cool place. I'm really enjoying playing around it.” – Maddison Hinson-Tolchard (140), on Chambers Bay
“I personally don't really care about seeding. I've been in several match play tournaments, and honestly you just don't know what you're going to get in match play. Obviously, you want to play well, but I'll just see where the cards lie. – Casey Weidenfeld (140) on whether she’s keeping a close eye on her seed for match play
“It was actually really funny because I saw it hit towards the hole and it was just a few feet right but I couldn't tell where it ended. So I'm looking up at everyone up above, and I'm like, guys, is it good? And then one person clapped, and I was like, okay, so it's at least on the green. Then all of a sudden they're like, ‘it went in.’ So I was like, yeah!” – Catherine Rao (140), on her hole-out eagle from 120 yards on the par-5 18th hole
“I hit it super thin. The thing runs all the way up the hill and it comes back and it looks pretty good, and I was like, no, and then it went in the hole. Everyone was clapping and I was just mortified, like I just shanked a 52-degree wedge into the hole. But whatever. I just took the ball and I was like, thank you, I'm out.” – Aliea Clark (147), on her eagle on the par-5 4th hole