Date: August 12, 2008

Stephanie Na blog: sharing the medal in Oregon

Stephanie Na writes: The last two weeks of my overseas trip has been quite a rollercoaster. I had a shocker of a week in Canada at the Canadian Amateur. After two just average rounds of 3 over, I made the cut quite convincingly as the top 77 players continued to play the final two days out of 140 players. I thought, I could finish off with a couple of good rounds, but scores said otherwise. In the end I finished T50, a terrible final day score which really pushed me close to the bottom of the field. After losing confidence with my tee shots I really struggled all day. That week was another learning curve. So while things weren&apost great for me, my travel buddy Stacey Keating got over the line, with a birdie on the last to win the Canadian Amateur by three shots!! It was so exciting!! Stacey had a great week in Winnipeg and despite my finish there, it was very exciting to see her win the event! After the presentation, Stace got to pop the champagne and leaving Elmhurst Golf Club and show her true Aussie-ness, by downing the champagne. All the RCGA, officials, volunteeers loved it! We couldn&apost celebrate too much as we had to pack our bags and be up by 3am the next morning to catch our flight to Oregon. So whilst celebrations went on for a little while up in the clubhouse, I was out on the range, desperately trying to figure out what went so wrong on the tee. Our final stop was Eugene. After flying for seven hours we finally arrived in Oregon. We were greeted by USGA officials and our host family. Fellow Australians they were! It was great to hear a couple of Aussie voices! Anyhow, straight from the airport, Stace and I went to the Eugene Country Club. We were welcomed at the front door of the clubhouse and then taken to the locker room. Each day we received a gift in our locker! We arrived at the practice range to find a large pyramid made of 265 balls, then a man came back and placed our names on the board behind our spots. It was so professional, After a few hours of practice, we headed back to our host family&aposs place and had tea. We were up the next morning at about 6am to get to the course in time for our practice round. The course was in spectacular condition-with two cuts of rough well defined making fairways quite narrow, pretty quick greens that would become quicker throughout the week and playing at over 6400 yards for the qualifying rounds and 6500 yards for the matchplay; it was going to be tester for sure! My billet Peter offered to caddy for me in the first round and with home course knowledge he was quite helpful around the greens. My work off the tee was much better than in Canada and I went on to make three birdies in a row 6, 7 and 8. I missed an up-and-down at 10 and I walked off 11 with a double bogey after landing in the drink. I then got on a roll and birdied 13, 14 and 16 to get it back to 2 under. On the 18th hole I hit a tee shot towards the right trees and it spat it out. A five wood landed me in the sand but I managed to hole it from the trap and sign off on a 3-under 69. The next day i started with a bogey on the 10th hole. But I continued throughout the day with 2 birdies and the rest pars. I made a lot of up and downs that day and came in with 1 under 71. Amanda had 2over so we were the co-medalists for the US Am. Later that evening they presented me a with a medal. And i went on to be the top seed because I had the lower score on the second day. So my first match I won 3 & 1. I played Sydney Burlison the next day and got down early in the match and was 3 down after 11. I then birdied 12, won 13 and 15. Then birdied 16 and won 17 to win the match 2 & 1. So then 2 hours later, I teed off the in the next round of matchplay top 16. I played 17 year old Christina Wong. I started off well, with a birdie on the first, I then lost a couple holes in a row half way through. And missing a couple opportunities to win holes, I was started to feel that I was running out of holes, even though I felt that I was 1 down I felt more than that. But i managed to win the 16th holing a 27-footer for birdie, and a two putt par on the 17th was enough to win that hole also, so I was 1-up going down 18. We both had long putts, although I was away first. I putted it up to about a foot and a half while Christina&aposs putt just fell short! So I knocked mine in to win 1 up and advance into the quarter finals of the US Amateur. The day of quarter finals, was pretty short for me. Unfortunately, getting off to a bad start in this match wasn&apost okay. I played Azahara Munoz from Spain and she was a great a player and I knew I had to play well if I wanted to win. Azahara played really well having 5 birdies on the front 9 and I lost big time 7 and 6. This was very disappointing for me, because I really was hoping that my A game would come through. Azahara played so well and was very impressive and I was disappointed I couldn&apost step up. Anyhow, Azahara proceeded to make the finals and lost in a great final match to Blumenherst 2 & 1. Blumenherst has a very impressive list of achievements and was definately one of the favourites for the week. Both those girls will be coming to Adelaide for the World Amateur Teams so I think there will be a bit of revenge that may take place! The US Amateur week was great! To be the co-medallist was a real achievement and I was really happy that I could get that! I also wanted to say that it was really nice to have the support come through emails and texts througout the week.