Ladies first

Busy weekend for women’s golf in the amateur ranks.
Sad Sunday for an amazing Karrie Webb

At the Lausanne Golf Club (Switzerland), young Agathe Laisné claimed the 30th European Ladies Amateur Championship. The report appears on the French side of this post.
The USGA was running its 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at the Boone Valley Golf Club, Augusta (Missouri). Erica Shepherd, 16-year-old amateur from Greenwood (Indiana), world #372,  has ramped up her game enough to land in Saturday’s championship match of the coveted title against Jennifer Chang  (Cary, N.C.).
On Friday, Shepherd defeated Youngin Chun (3&1) in the morning to set up her Friday afternoon semifinal match against No. 42 seed Elizabeth Moon. That match ended on the 19th hole when Moon missed her birdie putt and erroneously picked up her ball, assuming a conceded putt before it was actually given. That action resulted in a one-stroke penalty – giving her the edge.“I didn’t want to win like that,” Shepherd said after the match. “I really feed bad for Elizabeth.”
The 18th hole at Boone Valley Golf Club is called “Waterloo,” but for Erica Shepherd, it was the par-3 16th hole that had given her fits in the 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. How satisfying then that the hole she had double-bogeyed in stroke play and struggled with all week in matches would prove to be the spot where she sealed victory in the championship. When Shepherd tapped in a short par putt after a solid 5-iron tee shot on the 194-yard hole, her 3&2 victory over 16th-seeded Jennifer Chang was complete.  The two finalists earn exemptions into the 117th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, contested from August 8 on at the San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, California.

Albane Valenzuela (Stanford) second placed at yesterday’s 30th European Ladies Amateur Championship, will probably compete against  these guys, Shepherd (Duke), Chang (USC) in the coming NCAA season. When asked what is their competitive adge, they all have the same answer: Hitting good shots when I need to…” Good for the show!

After the men’s Scottish Open early July, the Dundonald Links was the venue of its female version. The entry list was rich in great names, the reason being the need to get accommodated to links courses before going to Kingbarns for the Women’s British Open. Among them, the likes of Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer or Michelle Wie, plus the obvious Korean platoon.  Aussie Karrie Webb (44) was so nicely in the lead before the 4th round, having missed all the bunkers, she was the media only pick for the win.        
And guess what, two of the Koreans were having a ball, playing deep under par. Webb in the meantime was level hole after hole, slowly losing ground to two active young Koreans. An eagle on 15th could have been a welcome boost. On tee #16, she was still ahead of Mi Hyang Lee (only 39th after 36 holes) and Mi Jung Hur. A bogey on the 16th, added to a double after two sandy visits on the 17th and she was brought back to 4th. Being two behind Mi Hyang Lee, she had to eagle the par 5 18th to force a play-off. Her birdie was only good enough to tie Mi Jung Hur at -5 for the 2nd place, the trophy going to Mi Hyang Lee one stroke better.
Should you compare this result to the outcome of the European Ladies Amateur Championship (see the French page), you’ll feel that you’ve already read this story. Golf can indeed crucify a player at any time, even the least expected. PPH