Heck, Stone Lead Group of Quarterfinalists at U.S. Women’s Amateur

By Mike Trostel, USGA

| Aug 10, 2023 | Los Angeles, Calif.

Heck, Stone Lead Group of Quarterfinalists at U.S. Women’s Amateur

What Happened

Rachel Heck may not have prepared the way she’s accustomed to for this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, but she is once again making a deep run in one of the biggest events in amateur golf.

Heck, 21, of Memphis, Tenn., won a pair of matches on Thursday, leaning on her experience and grit to advance to the quarterfinals at Bel-Air Country Club in her seventh U.S. Women’s Amateur appearance, the most of any player in this year’s field.

Heck fell 2 down early to Rin Yoshida in the Round of 32 but rallied for a 4-and-2 victory, then sprinted out of the gate against 15-year-old Nikki Oh in the afternoon, cruising to a 4-and-3 win.

Before the start of the championship, Heck had only played one competitive round in nine months. Last fall, she was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and had surgery in early March. In late July, she completed her 18-day Air Force ROTC field training – a two-and-a-half week stretch in which she didn’t pick up a golf club or use her phone.

“Going into the week I had absolutely no idea how it would go,” said Heck, a rising senior at Stanford. “I didn't think it would go too great at all considering it's my first tournament back since October. I'm just grateful to be here. I'm soaking it all in and not putting too much pressure on myself. I felt super relaxed out there today, so I think that mindset has helped a lot.”

The gutsiest performance of the day belonged to Latanna Stone, who beat fellow 2022 USA Curtis Cup teammate Rachel Kuehn in the Round of 32, then rallied from 5 down to knock off 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Yana Wilson in 20 holes.

In that afternoon match, Stone lost five consecutive holes starting at No. 3. She stopped the bleeding with a winning birdie at the par-5 eighth, but still trailed 4 down with six holes to go. The graduate student at LSU then reeled off three consecutive birdies at Nos. 13-15 to cut the deficit to 1 down and forced extra holes when Wilson missed the fairway and bogeyed the 18th.

It appeared Stone had clinched the match on the par-5 19th after lagging her eagle putt to within 18 inches, but a stunning lip out sent the match onward. On the par-4 20th, both players hit the green and Stone atoned for her miss on the previous hole with a clutch 25-foot birdie putt. When Wilson’s birdie bid from 10 feet slid by the right edge, the stunning comeback was complete.

“It was a tough match,” said Stone, 21, of Riverview, Fla. “We both played really well, and she was fighting back and so was I. The final stretch was when I was like, okay, I'm making a lot of putts, I'm playing really good. I really hadn't felt like that in the beginning of the round at all. I was just able to turn it around and flip the match.”

The only USGA champion remaining is Thienna Huynh, who won the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with partner Sara Im. The rising sophomore at UNLV was 1 down with two holes to play in her morning match, but birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to squeak past Canadian Lauren Kim and did not lose a hole in her afternoon match, a 4-and-3 triumph over Taylor Riley.

“I would definitely say my game changes a lot when I go into match play,” said Huynh, 19, of Lilburn, Ga. “I like to go hole by hole, shot by shot. I'm pretty good about dismissing bad shots and even after a good shot I can keep going and keep the momentum going.”

Other players to win two matches on Thursday were 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion Anna Davis; Oregon State rising sophomore Kyra Ly; Auburn University graduate student Megan Schofill; University of Michigan fifth-year senior Hailey Borja; and Princeton’s Catherine Rao, who reached the U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.

What’s Next

The quarterfinals will take place on Friday, with tee times beginning at 2:10 p.m. PT. Golf Channel will broadcast live 3-6 p.m. PT (6-9 p.m. ET).


  • Three Round-of-16 winners rallied from multiple hole deficits on the back nine: Latanna Stone (4 down with six to play), Kyra Ly (3 down with seven to play) and Rao (2 down with seven to play). 

  • Catherine Rao is the first player to reach the quarterfinals in two consecutive years since Gabriela Ruffels advanced to the championship match in 2019 and 2020. 

  • Anna Davis has not been pushed past the 16th hole in any of her three matches. 

  • Three of the quarterfinalists are from California. The last player to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur in her home state was Kay Cockerill, of Los Gatos, Calif., at Pasatiempo G.C., in Santa Cruz, in 1986.

  • Hailey Borja participated in the USGA’s Pathways Internship Program during the 2023 U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club in June. The 10-day experience exposed college students to different careers in golf by providing training, education and networking opportunities.


“It's a USGA event so you always have very high expectations, and it meets those expectations getting to play on a golf course like this and obviously against the best players in the amateur game. I think it definitely meets expectations, especially for my first.” – Anna Davis on playing in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur

“One of my biggest goals was to make it past the quarterfinals. More than anything, my match against Catie this afternoon, we both played amazing and it was just a super fun match. That's what I play golf for. That's the best part of USGA events, so it means the world to have that experience again.” – Catherine Rao on reaching the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year

“ANWA definitely matured me emotion-wise. Even though it's such a big tournament, making sure you carry yourself really well is super important and having a good attitude. No one likes to see a crazy person on the golf course, especially if young girls or boys are watching, it's always important to be a good role model to them. Even though people get mad on the course, it's always good to manage yourself in a good way.” – Latanna Stone on how experience in big events has helped mature her

“He just knows me so well. That's why like I just feel so comfortable having him on bag. He knows my game, he knows how to talk to me when I get frustrated. We just have fun out there. Most of the time we're not talking about golf at all. We're sharing funny stories, catching up on life. Because there is not a whole lot of time I get to spend five hours with my dad.” – Rachel Heck on her father, Robert, caddying for her this week