Date: August 03, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Plucky Aussies advance to match play

The US Women’s Amateur is hard enough if things are going well.

So it has already been an impressive feat by Hannah Green and Karis Davidson to conquer food poisoning in joining Eunice Kim in the match play phase at Rolling Green Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia today.

On the leaderboard, Queenslander Kim has been the star of the Aussie contingent with rounds of 69 and 71, including two closing birdies today to ensure she finished in a tie for 12th before the seedings are done by the USGA.

But special mention should be given to Green (70) and Davidson (74) to finish at one over and T33 after their respective preparations were badly hampered at the weekend.

The pair were confined to bed rest with food poisoning limiting their looks at a course that has many severely sloping greens that demand more than just a casual glance in course mapping and planning.

“Karis and I were unwell on weekend and missed (a practice round on) Saturday then just did 18 on Sunday,” Green said.

“We hadn't seen how course plays really … so I think we’re both just happy to get to the next (match play) phase.”

Green, who tied for second at last weeks’ Canadian Amateur, said she “really struggled” during her opening 73, but was far happier today as her course knowledge grew.

“I turned one under (yesterday) and then made a soft bogey on 10, another on 13, then 3 putts on 16, so bad way to finish and I was pretty hard on myself,” the West Australian said.

“I find the greens a lot trickier … and softer (after much recent rain) than what we’re used to playing on, but they were better today and I think it (the weather) is going to get better as the week goes on.”

Davidson, a member of Sanctuary Cove Golf Club, has done really well considering she has lost sufficient weight that shorts she bought at the start of her North American trip now need a belt to stay north.

But the surprise packet is Kim, who reached the event through sectional qualifying at Friendly Hills, near Los Angeles, where she finished third.

And with the first stage of the LPGA Tour’s Q-school in Los Angeles later this month on her mind, Kim continues to progress rapidly.

“I was really honoured even to play the US Am, but I’ve been playing well, I’m happy with it all and  am looking forward to tomorrow now,” Kim said.

The Lakelands Golf Club member paid tribute to local caddie Eric Shanline who has helped her in learning the intricate course.

“I’ve been putting really nice … both days and my caddie and I get on well. It’s a tough course, but I’ve managed well with Eric and he’s got my confidence up.”

All three young women are noted match players, with Korean-born Kim paying tribute to the Aussie system for the preparation.

“I didn’t used to be very good at it, but I like it now and play it pretty well. There's so much in Australia that I have learnt a lot.”

Hawaiian Mariel Galdiano fired a superb 65 today to advance as the medallist, while a nine-woman playoff for spots 60-64 was called off in bad light with four of the five berths determined, but one to be finalised tomorrow.