Emily Mahar clearly didn’t envisage leaving early in her first crack at the US Women’s Amateur title, but she’ll do so with a swag of invaluable lessons.
Mahar and fellow Australian Karen Kim both fired rounds of 80 today to finish the stroke play phase at 21 and 20 over, respectively, well outside the six-over total required to reach a playoff for the top 64 and match play.
But far from being despondent, Mahar, originally from Keperra Golf Club in Brisbane’s north-west, was already looking ahead.
“It obviously wasn’t as good as I could hope for, but it was a really good experience at that level of competition for the first time,” said the 18-year-old who has recently committed to attend Virginia Tech for her collegiate career.
“I guess 80-85% of players out there this week would be college players, so it gave me a good idea of where I need to be to be able to compete … and the work I have to do to be able to do that.’
For the second straight day, Mahar found a birdie on the penal San Diego Country Club layout, but was left to rue the high price of errors, primarily off the tee, that forced another pair of double-bogeys.
“I did struggle with my swing and then one thing led to another out there,” she said.
“It’s a course that you need to hit it in the fairway to have a good approach shot and if you miss, you were easily set up for bogey.
“A few of the girls and myself sometimes hit great shots into the greens, but it would catch a hill and run back and from there you’re going to have a three-putt bogey.
“But that’s what I’ve got to learn. These tournaments are played on tough courses and I have to be able to adapt.
“I kind of expected a low cut (score), but compared to the (recent US Girls’) Junior being at 10 over, it was quite a shock to see it only at six, especially how windy it was today.
“But again, that just shows me what I need to do. I’ll come back bigger and brighter next year … when I have a bit more experience.”
Kim, herself just a Year 10 student on a steep learning curve, couldn’t find a birdie today, but was generally steadier than her opening 84.
The medallist honours went to Frenchwoman Shannon Aubert, a rising senior at Stanford University, who added a sparkling 66 to her opening 69 to reach nine under, the second lowest stroke play total in the tournament’s long history.
A playoff featuring 11 players for the final eight spots was unresolved after two holes and will resume overnight before the match play phase begins.