The two sides who shared medalist honors in the 7th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship had little trouble winning their Round-of-32 matches on Friday at Grand Reserve Golf Club.
Fifteen-year-olds Chloe Kovelesky, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Yana Wilson, of Henderson, Nev., the top seeds in the bracket, ousted fellow teens Sawyer Brockstedt, 16, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Ellison Lundquist, 14, of Furlong, Pa., 4 and 3, while second-seeded Leigh Chien, 16, of Irvine, Calif., and Anna Huang, 13, of Canada, cruised to a 5-and-4 victory over 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Lauren Greenlief, 31, of Ashburn, Va., and Alexandra Austin, 29, of Burke, Va.
Kovelesky, a 2021 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier, and Wilson, a two-time Drive, Chip & Putt age-group champion, lost the opening hole to a Lundquist 50-foot birdie, but rallied to tie the match with a birdie on the 260-yard third hole. They won three consecutive holes from No. 6 to take control of the contest.
“Overall, I feel like we started warming up kind of towards the end [of our match],” said Wilson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 53 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®. “We just kind of kept shooting at pins and making putts.”
Next up for the top seeds are 17-year-olds Kaitlyn Schroeder, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Bailey Shoemaker, of West Edmeston, N.Y. Schroeder, a quarterfinalist in the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, and Shoemaker, a past DCP finalist, eliminated past DCP finalist Vanessa Borovilos, 15, of Canada, and 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinalist Cara Heisterkamp, 16, of Westlake, Ohio, 3 and 2.
Chien and Huang won five straight holes, two with birdies, to break open their Round-of-32 encounter. They were the equivalent of 3 under par, with the usual match-play concessions through 14 holes.
Next up for the No. 2 seeds are University of Kentucky teammates Laney Frye and Maria Villanueva.
Third-seeded Yilin (Angela) Liu, 16, of Irvine, Calif., and Charissa Shang, 18, of Calabasas, Calif., built a 5-up lead at the turn against fellow Southern California teens Frances Kim (Rolling Hills Estates) and Nikki Oh (Torrance) and posted a 3-and-2 win. The duo birdied all four par-3 holes, including a match-clinching 2 on No. 16.
No. 8 seeds Gianna Clemente, 14, of Warren, Ohio, and Avery Zweig, 15, of McKinney, Texas, birdied their final two holes in rallying to defeat Californians Michelle Ho, 15, of San Ramon, and Michelle Woo, 14, of Fremont, in 19 holes. Clemente-Zweig, who lost in the semifinals of last year’s championship at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, were 1 down going to the 18th hole before Zweig converted from 6 feet for birdie on the par 5. Clemente made an 8-footer on the par-4 19th hole, and Ho/Woo had a chance to extend the match but missed from just inside 8 feet.
“I was expecting her to make her putt on top of me,” said Clemente. “That's just how match play works. That's just the mindset I had all day, and they were making putts left and right all day. I think we were both shocked [she missed]. It was a great comeback for sure.”
Four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 43, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Dawn Woodard, 47, of Greenville, S.C., the oldest side in this week’s field and the only tandem to compete in all seven U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Balls, eliminated New Jersey teenagers and No. 4-seeded Megan Meng, of Pennington, and Angelina Tolentino, of Mount Laurel, 2 and 1. Deadlocked through 12 holes, Stasi-Woodard won holes 13 (birdie) and 14 (par) and matched pars with their opponents to close them out.
Another mid-amateur side, Kelsey Chugg, 30, of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Julia Potter-Bobb, 34, of Indianapolis, Ind., rallied from 3 down after nine holes to oust Wake Forest teammates Julia McLaughlin, of Princeton, N.J., and Georgia Ruffalo, of Tampa, Fla., in 19 holes. Chugg, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, recovered from a poor drive by knocking her approach to 20 feet on the first extra hole and converting the birdie putt. Potter-Bobb is a two-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion (2013, 2016).
This is the first USGA championship being contested in a U.S. territory. The Puerto Rico Golf Association is one of 58 Allied Golf Associations supported by the USGA.
The first match on Saturday begins at 6:50 a.m., with the quarterfinals scheduled to start at 12:30. The semifinals and 18-hole championship match are scheduled for Sunday.
“Once we got to 3 up, we were like, OK, let’s just keep doing what we’re doing because if you start playing conservative and safe, then you kind of start playing worse because you’re not really playing to your full potential.” – Chloe Kovelesky on the side’s mindset
“We have this little game with each other that we play off the team where we compete for closest to the pin on every single approach shot. That makes us go really aggressively, [especially] on the par 3s because we try and one-up each other. On top of that, when we're putting, we also have a competition for who will make it, and that really helps. It's more about us competing against each other than us competing against [our opponents].” – Charissa Shang on the four-ball mindset she has with her partner Yilin (Angela) Liu
“I was just happy to make a putt. It was a grind today.” – Kelsey Chugg on her 20-foot winning birdie putt on the 19th hole
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Joey Geske, an assistant manager of championship communications for the USGA, contributed to the story. Email them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.