7th U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball: 3 Things to Know
7th U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Home
For the first time in history, a USGA championship will be conducted in a U.S. territory, as Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico is set to host the 7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship starting on Wednesday.
The Tom Kite-designed layout is no stranger to big-time golf competitions. Since 2008, it has been the host site for the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open, an event won by the likes of Tony Finau, 2018 U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland and Branden Grace, who owns three top-10 U.S. Open finishes in his past seven starts.
Next January, Grand Reserve will welcome the best male amateurs from the region when it hosts the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship.
This week, however, it’s time for some of the top female tandems to shine on the 6,397-yard, par-72 layout.
Defending champions Alexa Saldana, of Mexico, and Savannah Barber, of Fort Worth, Texas, are back to defend the title they won last spring at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas. The two 18-year-olds are headed to college in the fall: Saldana to the University of Houston and Barber to the University of Oklahoma.
Here are 3 Things to Know as the competition commences with 36 holes of stroke play to determine the 32 sides who will advance to match play.
What’s a U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship without Meghan Stasi and Dawn Woodard? The two veteran mid-amateurs and longtime friends will have competed in all seven championships. Stasi, 43, a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Woodard, 47, a two-time Women’s Mid-Am quarterfinalist from Greer, S.C., have managed to navigate 18-hole qualifying against much younger sides to earn their place in the field. The duo’s best finish is the final eight in the inaugural 2015 event at Bandon Dunes.
Lauren Greenlief, 31, of Ashburn, Va., the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Am champion, also is playing in her seventh Four-Ball, but the University of Virginia alum has competed with two partners. This year, she is reuniting with fellow Virginian Alexandra Austin, her partner in 2015 and 2016. Austin, a Radford University alum, briefly tried professional golf before recently getting reinstated. Greenlief also partnered for four years with Katie Miller Gee, who recently gave birth to her first child with husband Devin Gee, the head professional at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. Greenlief and Austin advanced to the semifinals in 2016 at Streamsong.
Since its inception in 2014, the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, an initiative for boys and girls ages 7-15 which is supported by the USGA, PGA of America and The Masters Tournament, has seen a number of its participants graduate to even greater accomplishments on the golf course. Lucy Li, a member of the 2018 USA Curtis Cup Team, 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up Alexa Pano and 2021 U.S. Women’s Open low amateur Megha Ganne are among the past female competitors who have excelled in USGA championships.
This year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball features seven competitors who have won DCP national titles at Augusta National Golf Club, including Jenna Kim, who won in the 12-13 age division earlier this month. The 13-year-old Kim is partnering with another past DCP champ, Elle June Hannant (2018, 7-9 division) to form the championship’s youngest side (average age 12.5). Hannant and Kim are both from North Carolina, Kim from Raleigh, Hannant from Pikeville.
The other DCP champions in the field are Vanessa Borovilos (10-11, 2018); Nicole Gal (14-15, 2019); Sara Im (12-13, 2017); Ali Mulhall (14-15, 2021) and two-time winner Yana Wilson (12-13, 2019 and 2021). Since the competition wasn’t held in 2020 due to COVID-19, the qualifiers that year competed in the same divisions in 2021.
Nine other past DCP finalists are also in the field: Kynadie Adams (2015, 2016); Kate Bennett (2017); Sawyer Brockstedt (2018); Leigh Chien (2016); Chloe Kovelesky (2017); Mary Miller (2016, 2022); Bailey Shoemaker (2017); Kate Strickland (2014) and Avery Zweig (2016, 2018, 2021).
One would be hard-pressed to find a more traveled competitor in this year’s field than 26-year-old Shannon Aubert of France. The Stanford University graduate, who is partnering with former Cardinal teammate Calli Ringsby, of Denver, Colo., speaks four languages and has lived in eight countries (France, U.S., Mexico, Saint Lucia, Morocco, Switzerland, Singapore and Indonesia).
Because both of her parents, Monica and Christian, worked in the hotel industry, the family relocated a lot. Her mother, a former figure skater who performed with the Ice Capades, is South African, while her father, Christian, is a native of France and a former professional skier and coach.
Aubert loved a variety of sports but gravitated to golf at an early age. Her skills first landed her on the South African National Team and later the French National Team. She represented Europe in the Junior Solheim Cup and France in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. She also helped France to the European Ladies Team title in 2014 and 2015. At Stanford, she was a member of an NCAA title team in 2015, going 3-0 in match play.
While many of her fellow collegians turned professional, Aubert chose a different career path after earning her diploma in 2019. She spent two years working in various capacities at Deloitte before joining the boutique real-estate firm Side, Inc. as a launch manager.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.
Apr 20, 2022