Sophie Yip has holed a stunning chip-in for birdie on the second play-off hole to qualify for next month's US Women's Amateur Championship after just making it to the first tee on time following a bizzare chain of events..
Yip, who turns 14 this month, was making her first attempt to qualify for the storied Championship; however, when Sophie's dad, Patrick inadvertently locked the hire car keys in the boot alongside her sticks as they were about to leave the hotel for the course, things were looking quite grim indeed.
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PROFILE: Sophie Yip
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"I left the rental car keys inside the trunk and locked ourselves out,” Sophie’s dad, Patrick explained.
"With 20 minutes before her tee time and no sign of the roadside assistance, I found a Mexican cleaner at the hotel with half spoken English willing to lend me a hammer.
One smashed car window later, and a frantic dash to the course left Yip with less than five minutes to prepare.
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“We got to the first tee just when they called Sophie’s name," a very relieved Yip senior grinned.
"It was a bit embarrassing but why not! All the USGA officials and volunteers were talking about it and said it was a great story of how we overcame the obstacle in the end."
Despite the snafu, Yip displayed a level of maturity beyond her years and got straight down to business. Showing she wasn't overawed by the occasion or the morning drama, she carded a one-under-par 71 to finish in a tie for 6th and into a play off for the final spot available.
"I figured I wouldn't be able to help during the whole fiasco, so I just stayed calm," Sophie smiled.
"Dad was freaking out though,"
"As for my golf, I played quite consistently even though I didn’t have a warm up in the morning," Sophie smiled.
"I just tried to stay focused the whole round and finished tied 6th at one under," she said.
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If Yip's playoff opponent, Portland State Senior Tara Finigan wasn't aware of how determined the 13-year-old Yip was before the round, she certainly knew about it when the pint-sized rocket holed an incredible chip-in for birdie from the rough to book her place at the Golf Club of Tennessee.
Asked about the drama of her sudden-death feat, Yip just smiled, "It was probably my shot of the day."
"It was a great experience playing with college players, especially Ty Akabane, who qualified for 2017 US Open.
"I'm looking forward to Tennessee now; I'm really excited.
Before jetting back to the US in just over a month's time for the Women's Amateur, Yip has the NSW Junior Championships to contest, which begin Monday at Charlestown Golf Club, near Newcastle.
As for preparations, nothing will change according to her, except maybe the whereabouts of the car keys.
"I'm going to play like I always do and keep practising hard since it's the school holidays and make sure I prepare.
"And I will make sure Dad knows where the car keys are next time," she laughed.
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