Date: July 25, 2008

Stephanie Na blog: From Pinehurst to the Big Apple

Stephanie Na writes: From Georgia to North Carolina After being in the States for just over a month, Kristie Smith and I flew from Georgia where we played the US Am pre-qualifying to Raleigh airport, North Carolina. As our flight arrived in the morning we waited for our fellow national squad member Stacey Keating to fly in. Once Stace arrived, we where all reunited and were greeted by our billet. After successfully packing the car up with three golf bags and three large suitcases, we were off to our destination… the well known Pinehurst. It was a an hour and a half drive from the airport. As we were approaching our billets house we drove through the town of Pinehurst and past a few of the many courses they have in the area. At Pinehurst Once we arrived at the house, we took a quick tour around it and unpacked a little. We then went up to the main clubhouse of Pinehurst and our billets gave us a bit of a tour of the clubhouse where all the memorabilia was displayed. Then we had a quick look around the main town area. As our qualifying rounds were to be played on number 8 and number 2 courses, we had a practice round on each course over the weekend. Then Monday came around and it was the first round of the 106th Women&aposs North and South Amateur. Kristie, Stacey and myself were all playing the number 8 course, our scores were -+1 (71), +4 (76), and +4 (76) respectively. I was fortunate enough to get in before the rain, however the other girls just caught the start of it in their final few holes. The best score of the day was by a -6 (66) on number 2 course by Ryann O&aposToole. The next day we were all on the famous number 2 course. Stacey and I both came in with a +1 (74) and qualified in tied 15th place while Kristie came in with another solid round of -1 (71) which saw her qualify in third place, two shots off the top qualifier Jennie Arseneault who had scores of -3 and -1. So the next day was the first round of matchplay where the top 64 qualifiers fought it out on the number 2 course. Stace was first up out of the three of us and she successfully won her match against Sara Ovadia( Santa Barbara, CA) 2&1. Kristie won her match against Joy Kim (Pinole, CA) 4&3. And I won my match 3&2 against Whitney Neuhauser (Barboursville, VA). So it was a successful day for all of us as we all advanced into the second round of matchplay. Wednesday came around and Stace won her match in the morning against Mary Chamberlain (South Dennis, MA) 3&1. Kristie defeated Jennifer Osborn (Huntington Beach, CA) 4&3. And I had a bad day at the office and lost to Cindy LaCrosse (Tampa, FL). So that was the end of my journey for the 106th North and South Am. After lunch, it was round three of the matchplay and as Stacey picked up a caddy off the sidelines, I jumped on the bag for Kristie and carried her bag as she won her match quite convincingly over Courtney Harter (Clearwater, FL) 6&5. Stace had a great match against Blair Lamb with great scoring between the two, as 18 holes wasn&apost enough to conclude the match they went on to play extra holes but unfortunately for Stace, the match went to Blair on the 20th hole. Cheering on Kristie Now, that Stace and I were out of the tournament, we went on to support our fellow national squad member Kristie. Stace took the caddy job and they worked so well together as I walked along the sidelines being a supporter! Kristie won her quarter final match against Marika Lendl (Bradenton, FL) 3&2. As Kristie was off early in the morning, Stace and I managed to fit in a round at Pine Needles where the 2007 U.S Women&aposs Open was held at. We played off the Open tees and enjoyed playing the course that the Open was held at as it was in such great nick. The next day, Kristie was playing in the semi-final against Blair Lamb (Flatrock, NC), as Stace carried the bag and I watched along the sidelines, Kristie continued her great form and won the match 3 and 2. This win, advanced Kristie into the finals for the tournament. Once again, as Kristie was off early in the morning, Stace and I had the chance to play Pinehurst number 4, where the U.S Mens Amateur will be held in a months time. This was another amazing course at Pinehurst however, we didn&apost get to play the final 2 holes as it rained out and the course was flooded within minutes. Just shows how heavy the rain comes down! Then, Sunday came around and Kristie was playing Chelsea Curtis (Mashpee MA) in the finals. They got off to a good start halving holes with birdies and continued to be square until Kristie won the 8th and 9th, and finished the morning round 2up. As the match continued after lunch, Kristie continued her great form throughout the entire week right up until the final round which saw her win 8 and 7. This made Kristie the 106th Putter Boy (North and South Amateur) Champion! It was so great to watch a fellow national teammate win the tournament! With Stace carrying the bag, and me on the sidelines, and our billets too, we popped the champagne over the champion as she walked off the 11th!! (We did come prepared!) It was a very exciting and special win for Kristie as it ended her amateur career with a bang! Overall, our time at Pinehurst was awesome! Big thanks to our billets Dick and Nancy, not only did they show their generosity and fantastic hospitality but they really took time to come out and watch and support us. We had a great week and a half and it was so good to have a fellow Aussie team mate to win! We had an absolute ball and shared many memorable moments and laughs! It was great to be a part of such a memorable week for Kristie and we wish her all the very best as she prepares to debut as a professional on her birthday in Sweden! North Carolina to New York We are currently being tourists in New York City and loving it! As Kristie will fly home Wednesday, Stacey and myself will be flying to Winnepeg (Canada) this Saturday to play in the Canadian Amateur which commences on Monday.