U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR
118th U.S. Women's Amateur: Get to Know the Field
August 1, 2018 | Liberty Corner, N.J.
By Lindsey Spatola, USGA
The average age of the 156 U.S. Women’s Amateur competitors is 19.53 years old.
Avery Zweig, 11, of McKinney, Texas, is the championship’s youngest competitor. The only 11-year-old in the field, Zweig made match play in the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship as the youngest qualifier in that championship’s history. Also competing is Lucy Li, 15, of Redwood Shores, Calif., who set a U.S. Women’s Amateur record as the youngest competitor at 10 years, 10 months and 4 days old in 2013.
The championship’s oldest competitor is Ellen Port, 56, of St. Louis, Mo. She claimed the 2016 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship title at the Wellesley (Mass.) Country Club. She is also a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. This marks her 17th U.S. Women’s Amateur appearance. Martha Leach, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion who received a special exemption into this championship after her low-amateur finish in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, is also 56.
Monika Poomcharoen, of Temecula, Calif., will celebrate her 21st birthday during the championship (Aug. 8).
Field by age:
Age 11-15, 18 players
Age 16-20, 97 players
Age 21-25, 33 players
Age 26-30, 4 players
Age 31-35, 1 player
Age 35-40, 1 player
Age 41-56, 2 players
There are 16 countries represented in the championship: Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, England, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.
There are 32 states represented in the championship: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
With 34 players, California is the most represented state, followed by Texas, which is represented by 15 players. Kynadie Adams, 14, is the only player in the field from Nashville, Tenn. There are three other players in the field from Tennessee:
- Addie Baggarly, 18, Jonesborough
- Ashley Gilliam, 17, of Manchester
- Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis
There are 11 USGA champions in the field:
- Kelsey Chugg, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah (2017 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur)
- Hailee Cooper, 17, of Montgomery, Texas (2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Kaitlyn Papp)
- Kristen Gillman, 19, of Austin, Texas (2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur)
- Lauren Greenlief, 27, of Ashburn, Va. (2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur)
- Martha Leach, 56, of Hebron, Ky. (2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur)
- Mika Liu, 19, of Beverly Hills,Calif. (2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Rinko Mitsunaga)
- Yealimi Noh, 17, Concord, Calif. (2018 U.S. Girls' Junior)
- Ellen Port (2012, 2013 and 2016 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur; 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2011 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur)
- Julia Potter, 30, of Indianapolis, Ind. (2013 and 2016 U.S. Women' Mid-Amateur)
- Erica Shepherd, 17, of Greenwood, Ind. (2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior)
- Meghan Stasi, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur)
There are seven USGA runners-up in the field:
- Albane Valenzuela, 20, of Switzerland (2017 U.S. Women's Amateur)
- Ya Chun Chang, 17, of Chinese Taipei (2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Lei Ye)
- Sierra Brooks, 21, of Lake Mary, Fla. (2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur)
- Martha Leach (2011 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur)
- Ina Kim-Schaad, 33, of New York, N.Y. (2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior)
- Alexa Pano, 13, of Lake Worth, Fla. (2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior)
- Ellen Port (2002 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur)
Fourteen U.S. Women’s Amateur competitors have played in the Curtis Cup Match:
- Sierra Brooks (USA, 2016)
- Annabell Fuller, 16, of England (Great Britain & Ireland, 2018)
- Kristen Gillman, 20, of Austin, Texas (USA, 2018)
- Alice Hewson, 20, of England (Great Britain & Ireland, 2016, 2018)
- Jennifer Kupcho, 21, of Westminster, Colo. (USA, 2018)
- Sophie Lamb, 20, of England (Great Britain & Ireland, 2018)
- Lucy Li (USA, 2018)
- Mika Liu (USA, 2016)
- Olivia Mehaffey, 20, of Northern Ireland (Great Britain & Ireland, 2018)
- Ellen Port (1994, 1996; captain 2014)
- Meghan Stasi (USA, 2008)
- Lauren Stephenson, 21, of Lexington, S.C. (USA, 2018)
- Bailey Tardy, 21, of Peachtree Corners, Ga. (USA, 2016)
- Lilia Vu, 20, of Fountain Valley, Calif. (USA, 2018)
Nine U.S. Women’s Amateur competitors have or will represent their home countries in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship:
- Ya Chun Chang (Chinese Taipei, 2016)
- Isabella Fierro, 16, of Mexico (2016)
- Kristen Gillman (USA, 2014)
- Sophie Hausmann, 21, of Germany (2016)
- Alice Hewson (England, 2016)
- Jennifer Kupcho (USA, 2018)
- Olivia Mehaffey (Ireland, 2016, 2018)
- Isidora Nilsson, 22, of Chile (2016)
- Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland, 2014)
Fifteen players are in the top 25 of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ as of August 1:
No. 1 – Lilia Vu
No. 2 – Jennifer Kupcho
No. 3 – Albane Valenzuela
No. 5 – Lauren Stephenson
No. 6 – Kristen Gillman
No. 7 – Patty Tavatanakit, 18, of Thailand
No. 9 – Lucy Li
No. 10 – Jiwon Jeon, 21, of the Republic of Korea
No. 11 – Pimnipa Panthong, 20, of Thailand
No. 13 – Maria Fassi, 20, of Mexico
No. 15 – Rachel Heck
No. 17 – Maddie Szeryk, 22, of Canada
No. 21 – Olivia Mehaffey
No. 23 – Yealimi Noh
No. 24 – Yujeong Son, 17, Republic of Korea
Sixteen players in the field competed in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open (May 31-June 3) at Shoal Creek (Ala.) Golf Club:
- Kaylee Benton – MC, 74-80
- Kelsey Chugg – MC, 83-76
- Hailee Cooper – T55, 72-76-77-74—299
- Allisen Corpuz – MC, 76-73
- Maria Fassi – MC, 76-77
- Kristen Gillman – T27, 70-74-75-74—293
- Sophie Hausmann – MC, 78-76
- Dylan Kim – MC, 74-75
- Gina Kim – MC, 72-79
- Lucy Li – T55, 72-74-77-76—299
- Olivia Mehaffey – MC, 76-77
- Erica Shepherd – MC, 82-71
- Yujeong Son – MC, 74-78
- Patty Tavatanakit – T5, 70-73-72-71—286 (low amateur)
- Albane Valenzuela – 24, 72-73-71-75—291
- Elizabeth Wang – T34, 72-74-71-77—294
Twenty-seven players competed in the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior (July 16-21) at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif., including runner-up Alexa Pano and champion Yealimi Noh, as well as:
- Annabell Ackroyd, 16, of Canada (missed cut)
- Ya Chun Chang (Round of 64)
- Hailee Cooper (Round of 64)
- Bentley Cotton, 16, of Austin, Texas (missed cut)
- Abbey Daniel, 17, of Covington, La. (missed cut)
- Isabella Fierro (Round of 32)
- Ashley Gilliam (Quarterfinals)
- Gurleen Kaur, 18, Houston, Texas (missed cut)
- Gina Kim, 18, of Chapel Hill, N.C. (Semifinals)
- Lucy Li (Semifinals)
- Lindsay May, 18, of Auburn, N.Y. (missed cut)
- Elizabeth Moon, 18, of Forrest City, Ark. (missed cut)
- Pinya Pipatjarasgit, 17, of Sylvania, Ohio (missed cut)
- Yuka Saso, 17, of the Philippines (Round of 64)
- Brooke Seay, 17, of San Diego, Calif. (Round of 16)
- Ivy Shepherd, 18, of Peachtree City, Ga. (Round of 32)
- Erica Shepherd (Round of 32)
- Ashely Shim, 14, of San Mateo, Calif. (Round of 64)
- Yujeong Son (Round of 16)
- Elizabeth Wang (Round of 32)
- Libby Winans, 18, of Richardson, Texas (Round of 32)
- Chia Yen Wu, 14, of Chinese Teipei (Round of 16)
- Suzuka Yamaguchi, 17, of Japan (Quarterfinals)
- Katherine Zhu, 18, of San Jose, Calif. (Round of 64)
- Avery Zweig (Round of 64)
Seventeen U.S. Women’s Amateur competitors played in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship (April 28-May 2) at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif. One two-player side made this field (second player in bold):
- Kynadie Adams with partner Rachel Kuehn (Round of 16)
- Ty Akabane, 17, of Danville, Calif., with partner Briana Chacon (Quarterfinals)
- Ya Chun Chang with partner Lei Ye (runners-up)
- Abbey Daniel with partner Ashley Gilliam (Round of 32)
- Alice Duan, 20, of Reno, Nev., with partner Michelle Duan (missed cut)
- Lauren Greenlief with partner Katie Miller (missed cut)
- Lindsay May with partner Lauren Peter (Round of 32)
- Haley Moore with partner Gigi Stoll (Round of 16)
- Erica Shepherd with partner Megan Furtney (Semifinals)
- Ashely Shim with partner Mika Jin (Round of 32)
- Meghan Stasi with partner Dawn Woodard (Round of 16)
- Gabriella Tomanka, 16, of Grapevine, Texas, with partner Gabbi Bentancourt (missed cut)
- Karoline Tuttle, 14, of Lake Mary, Fla., with partner Chloe Kovelesky (missed cut)
- Casey Weidenfeld, 15, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., with partner Jilian Bourdage (Round of 32)
- Libby Winans with partner Alden Wallace (Round of 32)
- Avery Zweig with partner Melena Barrientos (Round of 32)
General Player Notes
Alyaa Abdulghany, 19, of Newport Beach, Calif., is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern California majoring in business administration. In her freshman season, Abdulghany posted three top-10 finishes and helped the Trojans advance to the NCAA Championship semifinals. Abdulghany, who advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, was the 2016 USA Today High School Player of the year and a past Southern California Golf Association Junior scholar.
Annabelle Ackroyd, 16, of Canada, qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur championships on consecutive days in June. After deciding at the last minute to fly to Colorado from Calgary with her father, Ackroyd qualified for the Girls’ Junior on June 26 with a 70 at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, then earned a trip to the Women’s Amateur the next day with a 71 at Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster. Because golf courses don’t open until May and the season is only five months, she hits golf balls into a net and putts on artificial turf during the winter.
Kynadie Adams, 14, of Nashville, Tenn., is the lone player in the field to call Nashville home. Adams is playing in her second USGA championship, after advancing to the Round of 16 of this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with partner Rachel Kuehn. Adams qualified for the the Drive, Chip & Putt Nationals Finals at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club in 2015 and 2016. Her father, Adrian, played college golf at Tennessee State University, where he was teammates with Sean Foley, Adams’ swing coach and the instructor for 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose. Adrian also was a caddie at The Golf Club of Tennessee for seven years and will be on his daughter’s bag at the championship.
Ty Akabane, 17, of Danville, Calif., qualified for the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and is playing in her seventh USGA championship. Akabane and her partner, Briana Chacon, were quarterfinalists in this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, losing to eventual runners-up Ya Chun Chang and Lei Ye, 3 and 2. Akabane, who finished ninth in the Girls Junior PGA Championship in July, participates in Care Kits for the Homeless, a program that raises funds to provide homeless people with daily essentials such as water, food and clothing.
Addie Baggarly. 18, of Jonesborough, Tenn., received All-SEC Freshman Team honors after her first season at the University of Florida. Baggarly qualified for this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur on Florida’s home course: Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, with college teammate Lauren Waidner. Baggarly, who recently finished fifth in the Tennessee Women’s Amateur Championship, was a 2016 Rolex American Junior Golf Association honorable-mention All-American. She also helped Science Hill High School capture the 2013 Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association 3A state title.
Kaylee Benton, 21, of Litchfield Park, Ariz., qualified for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open and is competing in her third U.S. Women’s Amateur. A senior at the University of Arkansas who was born in Jackson, Tenn., Benton clinched the winning point for the Razorbacks in the 2018 SEC Championship, the program’s first conference title. Her great-grandfather, Jim Benton, was an all-American wide receiver for the Razorbacks in 1937 and later won a pair of NFL titles with the Chicago Bears (1943) and Cleveland Rams (1945). Her two older brothers, Nicklaus and Colby, both played golf at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.
Brooke Boardman, 17, of Waukee, Iowa, is competing in her first USGA championship. The incoming University of Kansas freshman helped Waukee Community High School capture the 2018 4A State Championship, while being crowned the individual state champion. In 2015, she was a Drive, Chip & Putt finalist at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club in the 12-13 Division.
Elayna Bowser, 21, of Dearborn, Mich., is a rising senior at Loyola University of Chicago who is competing in her first USGA championship. This past season, she was an All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. Her brother, Evan, competed on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and qualified for three consecutive U.S. Amateurs. He caddied for Elayna when she qualified for this year’s Women’s Amateur.
Sierra Brooks, 20, of Lake Mary, Fla., was the runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur, losing to Hannah O’Sullivan, 3 and 2. Brooks also was a member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team that was defeated at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club outside of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. In her first season at the University of Florida after transferring from Wake Forest, Brooks earned honorable-mention All-American honors She competed in the 2016 U.S. Women's Open and the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration. She also represented her country in the 2015 Junior Solheim Cup and the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup. In 2015, she won the South Atlantic Women’s Amateur (the Sally) and Women’s Southern Amateur.
Ya Chun Chang, 17, of Chinese Taipei, finished runner-up in this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., alongside partner Lei Ye, and advanced to the Round of 64 in last month’s U.S. Girls’ Junior at Poppy Hills. She won the 2015 Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, China, and finished runner-up as an amateur in the 2016 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, a Symetra Tour event. She is an incoming freshman at the University of Arizona.
Kelsey Chugg, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah, won the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in her first appearance, defeating Mary Jane Hiestand, 3 and 1. She became the fifth person from Utah to win a USGA championship and earned an exemption into the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, a perk now given to the Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. Chugg, a four-time Utah Women’s State Amateur Champion (2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017), is the membership director at the Utah Golf Association.
Clare Connolly, 25, of Chevy Chase, Md., is competing in her second USGA championship and first U.S. Women’s Amateur. Connolly is a full-time caddie, working at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., site of the 2011 U.S. Open, in the summer and fall and Streamsong (Fla.) Resort, site of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, during the winter months. The youngest of 11 children, Connolly played her collegiate golf at Saint Leo University in Florida. She won the 2017 Maryland State Women’s Amateur.
Hailee Cooper, 18, of Montgomery, Texas, won the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship with Kaitlyn Papp at Streamsong (Fla.) Resort. Cooper is one of six players in the field who made the cut in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek after earning the last spot into the field as an alternate just days before the championship started. The incoming University of Texas freshman also has qualified for four consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships.
Allisen Corpuz, 20, of Kapolei, Hawaii, a 2018 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier, became the youngest ever competitor in a USGA championship when she qualified for the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at the age of 10 years, 3 months, 10 days. Corpuz, a junior at the University of Southern California, is competing in her eighth USGA championship.
Abbey Daniel, 17, of Covington, La., fractured her right arm in four places when she was 14 and was told she may never be able to play golf again. A year later, she advanced to the National Finals of the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club. Also a volleyball player, Abbey plans to play golf for Mississippi State University in 2019, the same school her mother, Kay, and father, Chuck, attended. Kay advanced to the Quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, La.
Sophie Dipetrillo, 21, of Dover, Mass., won the Virginia State Women’s Stroke Play Championship and finished third in the New England Women’s Amateur. A senior at the University of Richmond, she helped the Spiders capture their third consecutive Patriot League title, while also claiming the individual title.
Hannah Facchini, 21, of Hanford, Calif., recently completed her eligibility for the University of California-Riverside and will serve as the Highlanders’ assistant women’s golf coach for the 2018-19 season. Facchini posted four top-10 finishes as a senior and helped UC-Riverside win its first Big West Conference title in 2016.
Maria Fassi, 20, of Mexico, qualified for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open. Fassi is competing in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur after advancing to the Round of 16 in the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior. The University of Arkansas senior is coming off a strong junior season in which she won the Annika Award for being women’s college golf’s player of the year and earned first-team WGCA All-America honors. She also was the SEC Player of the Year. Last month, she played on the International side at the Palmer Cup held in Evian, France. Fassi is close friends with LPGA Tour player and ex-Razorback Gaby Lopez, who helped convince Fassi to attend Arkansas.
Isabella Fierro, 17, of Mexico, was a quarterfinalist in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, losing to eventual champion Sophia Schubert. Last month, Fierro advanced to the Round of 32 of the 70th U.S. Girls’ Junior at Poppy Hills. She won the 2017 South American Women’s Amateur Championship by 10 strokes and was runner-up in the 2016 Mexican Women’s Amateur Championship after finishing third in 2015. She also won the 2015 Mexican Girls’ Junior Championship.
Annabell Fuller, 16, of England, was the youngest competitor on the Great Britain and Ireland Team in the 2018 Curtis Cup Match at Quaker Ridge Golf Club. She won the 2017 English Girls open Amateur Championship and was runner-up in the 2017 Annika Invitational. Fuller was the runner-up in the 2018 Portuguese International Ladies Amateur after losing in a playoff to English compatriot Isobel Wardle.
Ashley Gilliam, 17, of Manchester, Tenn., was a quarterfinalist in this year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior, losing to Gina Kim, 4 and 3. Gilliam was a member of Tennessee’s victorious team in last year’s final USGA Women’s State Team Championship, shooting a championship-best 67 in Round 2. She won the 2017 and 2018 Tennessee Girls’ Junior and has won two AJGA events She also is a past national finalist in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club.
Kristen Gillman, 20, of Austin, Texas, won the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, defeating future major champion Brooke Henderson in the final at Nassau Country Club. Gillman was one of six players in the field to make the cut in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing tied for 27th. She represented the USA in the 2018 Curtis Cup Match, where the USA posted a 17-3 victory to reclaim the Cup. She was also a member of the victorious 2018 USA Palmer Cup Team and the 2014 USA Women’s World Amateur Team. A junior at the University of Alabama, Gillman was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year and a First-Team All-America for the 2016-17 season. At the end of July, Gillman won the Japan LPGA Tour’s Century 21 Ladies’ Tournament.
Lauren Greenlief, 27, of Ashburn, Va., became the youngest winner (25 years, 25 days) of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion when she defeated Margaret (Shirley) Starosto, 2 and 1, in 2015. Greenlief, a management consultant, also reached the Semifinals of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with partner Alexandra Austin. Greenlief was a walk-on at the University of Virginia and earned three varsity letters from 2010-12.
Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., finished tied for 33rd in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open, earning exemptions into the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur. In June, Heck won the Polo Golf Junior Classic, a major on the American Junior Golf Association circuit, and finished fifth in the Rolex Girls Junior Championship. In 2017, she won the AJGA’s Rolex Girls Junior Championship and finished runner-up in the Thunderbird International Junior and tied for second in the ANA Junior Inspiration. A two-time Rolex Junior All-American, she helped the East Team win the 2017 Wyndham Cup for the first time since 2012 and is verbally committed to attend Stanford University in 2020. Heck also represented the USA in the 2017 Junior Solheim Cup and was recently chosen to play in the Junior Ryder Cup this fall in France.
Alice Hewson, 20, of England, represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 2016 and 2018 Curtis Cup Match. The Clemson University junior owns three victories: the Clemson Invitational, the Cougar Classic and the Lady Paladin. Hewson, who advanced to the Round of 64 in last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, captured two gold medals representing England in the European Team Championship.
Emillee Hoffman, 20, Folsom, Calif., won the 2018 Women's Western Amateur. As a sophomore last season at the University of Texas, Hoffman was named a Golfweek honorable-mention All-American. She was the runner-up in the 2018 Big 12 Conference Championship.
Sabrina Iqbal, 17, of San Jose, Calif., won the 2016 California Women’s Amateur Championship and, representing Pioneer High School, was the 2014-15 California Interscholastic Federation state champion as a freshman. She has also won several American Junior Golf Association tournaments and was named the 2015-16 Northern California Golf Association’s Women’s Player of the Year after receiving the junior award for three consecutive seasons. A violinist in her school’s chamber orchestra, she will be a freshman at Texas Christian University in the fall.
Jiwon Jeon, 21, of the Republic of Korea, captured the NJCAA individual title in May for Daytona (Fla.) State College. Jeon earned four other titles in her sophomore season: SunTrust Gator Invitational, UNF Collegiate, Xavier Collegiate and Lady Paladin. She represented the International team in the 2018 Palmer Cup Team, the first junior-college golfer to be selected. She will be a member of the University of Alabama women’s team this fall.
Dylan Kim, 21, of Sachse, Texas, qualified for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, where she missed the cut. Kim transferred to the University of Arkansas last year after taking a medical redshirt season at Baylor University due to a benign tumor that was removed from her leg in October 2015. Kim finished fourth individually in the 2015 NCAA Championship while playing for Baylor. She is coming off a runner-up finish by one stroke to Yealimi Noh at the Canadian Women’s Amateur held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Gina Kim, 18, of Chapel Hill, N.C., was a semifinalist in last month’s U.S. Girls’ Junior, losing to the eventual champion, Yealimi Noh, 3 and 2. Kim qualified for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, where she missed the cut. Kim posted two runner-up finishes in American Junior Golf Association major events in 2017: Ping Invitational and the AJGA Girls Championship. She earned one of four exemptions into the 2017 LPGA Tour’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, where she shot 72-68, and missed the cut by two strokes. She is set to enroll at Duke University in the fall.
Ina Kim, 34, of New York, N.Y., finished runner-up in the 2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore. A native of Los Angeles, Calif., and a 2005 graduate of Northwestern University, she returned to competitive golf after living abroad and working in the financial industry in Chicago, New York, London and Hong Kong for 11 years. Now living in Manhattan, where she has reunited with the game, Kim won the 2016 Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association Met Amateur and Met Amateur Stroke-Play championships. She survived a six-hole playoff to earn the final spot at her 2018 Women’s Amateur qualifier.
Rebecca Klongland, 22, of Stoughton, Wis., graduated from the University of Wisconsin in May, where she was a member of the Badgers’ women’s golf team. She is competing in her third USGA championship and her second U.S. Women’s Amateur. Klongland plans to attend the Marquette University law school in the fall. She was the first Wisconsin golfer to register back-to-back top-10 finishes in the Big Ten Championships since 2004. Klongland also became the first player to win the Wisconsin State Women's Amateur four years in a row.
Jennifer Kupcho, 21, of Westminster, Colo., led every round in claiming the 2017 Canadian Women’s Amateur. In May, she won the NCAA individual title as a junior at Wake Forest University. A year earlier, a costly triple bogey on the second-to-last hole cost Kupcho that same NCAA title. She comes into the U.S. Women’s Amateur as the No. 1 player in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™, and being named to the 2018 USA Women’s World Amateur Team that will compete in Ireland at the end of the month. Last year, Kupcho tied for 21st in the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. In June, she helped the USA Curtis Cup Team to a 17-3 victory, going 3-0-1 at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. She also was a member of last month’s victorious USA Palmer Cup Team.
Martha Leach, 56, of Hebron, Ky., earned a special exemption into the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship after earning low-amateur honors in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club, where she tied for 10th at 6-over 297. Leach is no stranger to USGA championships as she has competed in 29 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs, winning in 2009, and has competed in 18 other U.S. Women's Amateurs. Leach was inducted into the Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2018. Her sister is World Golf Hall of Famer and six-time USGA champion Hollis Stacy. Leach and Hollis are one of two sister tandems to be USGA champions, joining Harriot and Margaret Curtis.
Lucy Li, 15, of Redwood Shores, Calif., competed in her second U.S. Women’s Open earlier this summer at Shoal Creek, finishing tied for 55th. In 2014, she was the youngest qualifier in Women’s Open history at 11 years, 8 months and 14 days, but missed the cut at Pinehurst No. 2. Last month, Li was a semifinalist in the U.S. Girls’ Junior after earning medalist honors with a near-record total of 131 (11 under). Earlier in 2014, Li won the inaugural Drive, Chip, & Putt Championship for her age division (10-11). In 2016, Li won the Girls Junior PGA Championship and played on the victorious USA Junior Ryder Cup Team. Li’s most recent wins include the 2017 Ping Invitational and the 2017 Rolex Tournament of Champions. She also helped the 2018 USA Curtis Cup Team to a 17-3 victory in June, going 3-0-1 at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. Li also was recently selected to play in the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup and competed for the victorious USA side in the 2017 Junior Solheim Cup.
Mika Liu, 19, of Beverly Hills, Calif., won the 2014 Women’s Western Amateur and Southern Amateur championships, the 2015 Thunderbird International and the 2016 South Atlantic Women’s Amateur, known as “The Sally.” Liu, a rising sophomore at Stanford University, was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team this past season after four top-10 finishes. In 2015, she received an exemption into the ANA Inspiration and won the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes with partner Rinko Mitsunaga. Following her championship record-tying seventh appearance in the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior, she is playing in her 13th USGA championship and fourth U.S. Women’s Amateur. She was a member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team.
Olivia Mehaffey, 20, of Northern Ireland, just finished her sophomore season at Arizona State University, where she was named second-time All-American and All-American Scholar by the WGCA. She represented the International side in last month’s Palmer Cup in France, where she was awarded the Michael Carter "Junior" Memorial Award, given to one male and one female competitor who best represent the qualities and ideals of sportsmanship, integrity and upholding of the game. She also represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 2016 (win) and 2018 Curtis Cup Matches. In 2016, Mehaffey won the Irish Women's Open Stroke Play Championship and Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship. She will also represent Ireland in the upcoming Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, an event she also competed in two years ago in Mexico.
Haley Moore, 19, of Escondido, Calif., has competed in six USGA championships, advancing to the Round of 16 in both the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Moore advanced to the Round of 16 in this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with college teammate Gigi Stoll. She has two collegiate victories and has competed in two LPGA Tour events. She graduated high school one semester early to attend the University of Arizona and finished tied for second individually in the 2016 NCAA Championship. In late May, she won the deciding match at Karsten Creek Golf Club to help Arizona win its third NCAA title, defeating second-seeded Alabama. She was the lone amateur to make the cut in the 2015 ANA Inspiration. Her brother, Tyler, qualified for the 2017 U.S. Amateur.
Yealimi Noh, 16, of Concord, Calif., won the 2018 U.S. Girls Junior, defeating Alexa Pano, 4 and 3. By winning the championship, Noh also earned an exemption into next year’s U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina. A week after her win at the Girls’ Junior, Noh captured the Canadian Women’s Amateur title, with a one-stroke win over Dylan Kim. Noh won this summer’s California Junior Girls’ State Championship, four years after winning it previously. She won her second title at nearby Monterey Peninsula Country Club on June 28, shortly after serving as a guest speaker for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Preview Day at Poppy Hills. She also won the 2018 Girls Junior PGA Championship with a record-total of 24-under 264 and will represent the USA in the upcoming Junior Ryder Cup in France.
Bianca Pagdanganan, 20, of the Philippines, just finished her junior season at the University of Arizona, where she helped the Wildcats capture the 2018 NCAA title. Pagdanganan’s eagle putt on the 72nd hole of team stroke play propelled the Wildcats into a playoff for the eighth and final spot in the team match-play draw. She received a special exemption to compete in the LPGA Tour’s Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning in July, where she made the cut and finished tied for 67th. She also won the 2014 Philippine Junior Amateur Open and was medalist in the stroke-play portion of the Philippine Amateur Open.
Alexa Pano, 13, of Lake Worth, Fla., was the runner-up at the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior, falling to Yealimi Noh, 4 and 3. Two years ago, Pano became the youngest competitor to play in an LPGA of Japan Tour event – the 2016 Yonex Ladies Golf Tournament. An eight-time age-group winner of the IMG Junior World Championship and two-time National Drive, Chip & Putt champion (2016 and 2017), she has already played in two U.S. Women’s Amateurs, making match play last year at San Diego Country Club. She was featured in the 2013 Netflix documentary “The Short Game.”
Pinya Pipatjarasgit, 17, Sylvania, Ohio, is competing in her third USGA championship and her first U.S. Women’s Amateur. She received a sponsor exemption to play in the 2018 LPGA Marathon Classic in her hometown. She was the valedictorian of St. Ursula Academy and will attend Brown University in the fall, where she will be a member of the women’s golf team. She is classically trained on the piano and violin and performed at Carnegie Hall with her school choir in 2015.
Ellen Port, 56, of St. Louis, Mo., earned her spot in the field by winning the 2016 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, her seventh USGA championship. She has won the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur four times and has represented the USA in the Curtis Cup on two occasions (1994 and 1996) and captained the team to victory in 2014 at St. Louis Country Club, not far from her residence. Port is seeking an eighth USGA title, which would tie JoAnne Carner for the most by a female player and tie her with Jack Nicklaus. Only Bob Jones and Tiger Woods have won more USGA championships, with nine apiece.
Julia Potter, 28, of Indianapolis, Ind., is a two-time USGA champion, winning the 2013 and 2016 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. In 2013, she became the first female left-handed USGA champion. Potter won the 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015 Indiana Women’s Amateur and 2016 Indiana Women’s Open championships. The University of Missouri graduate is the director of marketing for the Indiana Golf Office and was a 2008 P.J. Boatwright Intern for the Missouri Golf Association. Potter was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager and underwent the same back surgery as LPGA star Stacy Lewis.
Simar Singh, 18, Los Alto, Calif., is competing in her third USGA championship and her first U.S. Women’s Amateur. Singh won the 2018 San Francisco City Championship and the 2015 CWAC California Junior Girls State Championship. She was a founding member of the Youth Alliance for Justice Club at her high school and plans to join the Academic Residential Community for Social Activism in college. Singh, who will be a freshman at the University of Oregon in the fall, has been a member of a traditional Indian Punjabi dance team for past 10 years.
Erica Shepherd, 17, of Greenwood, Ind., won the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior, defeating Jennifer Chang, 3 and 2, in the final match at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo. She qualified for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle when she was 15, and this year became the first player to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open via the new exemption for the U.S. Girls’ Junior champion. Last year, Shepherd represented the USA in the Junior Solheim Cup and World Junior Championship and has been selected for the 2018 USA Junior Ryder Cup Team. She has deep ties to the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, as her middle name, Leigh, is in honor of family friend Leigh Anne (Hardin) Creavy, the 1998 Girls’ Junior winner. Her family is also close with two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Betsy King, whom Shepherd caddied for in the 2017 Senior LPGA Championship. Shepherd is one of seven left-handed USGA champions and only the second female left-handed USGA champion alongside fellow Indiana native and 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur competitor Julia Potter-Bobb.
Yujeong Son, 17, of the Republic of Korea, advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and qualified for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open. Son, who now resides in Norman, Okla., won the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship with a birdie on the final hole. She won three consecutive Oklahoma women’s state championships, becoming the youngest winner in 2014. Other victories include the 2016 Kathy Whitworth Invitational, the 2016 and 2017 Dixie Women’s Amateur, the 2017 Swinging Skirts Classic, the 2018 Harder Hall Invitational and the 2018 Rolex Girls Championship.
Meghan Stasi, 39, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion (2006, 2007, 2010, 2012) who represented the USA in the 2008 Curtis Cup Match on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, where she got engaged to her husband Danny on the iconic Swilcan Bridge. She also served as the head women’s golf coach at the University of Mississippi from 2000-07. A Tulane University graduate, Meghan and her husband own a seafood restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.
Lauren Stephenson, 20, of Lexington, S.C., just finished her junior season at the University of Alabama, where she helped the Crimson Tide to a runner-up finish in 2018 NCAA Championships. She became the first player in NCAA Division I history to post a sub-70 scoring average for one season (69.76) and was named a WGCA First-Team All-American. She was one of six players in the field to make the cut at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing tied for 41st. She lost 30-hole quarterfinal match at 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the longest in USGA history. Stephenson was a member of the victorious 2018 USA Curtis Cup Team and the 2018 USA Palmer Cup Team.
Reena Sulkar, 19, of Barrington Hills, Ill., was the medalist at the Homewood, Ill. qualifier. Sulkar won the 2017 CWDGA Annual Tournament Championship and was the runner-up in the 2016 Illinois Junior Girls’ Amateur. In 2015, she was featured in Faces in the Crowd, a segment in Sports Illustrated magazine. Sulkar is a part of the University of Illinois’ Guaranteed Professional Program Admission, a special direct medical program, and has been accepted into medical school straight out of high school. She will complete her undergraduate degree in two years and plans on taking 2 years off before medical school to focus on golf and pursue an MBA.
Bailey Tardy, 21, of Peachtree Corners, Ga., is a rising senior at the University of Georgia, who only played in two events during her junior season – both in the fall – in a campaign shortened first by playing in LPGA Tour Q-School and then by injury. Tardy competed in her third U.S. Women’s Open in 2017. She earned medalist honors in the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur. A member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team, she won the 2015 North & South Women’s Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2.
Patty Tavatanakit, 18, of Thailand, was the low amateur in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing in a tie for fifth. Tavatanakit, who will be a sophomore at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), was the only amateur to finish under par. In her freshman season at UCLA, Tavatanakit won four individual titles and helped the team to the Pacific-12 Conference crown. She defeated her junior teammate, Lilia Vu, in a playoff to take home an individual Pac-12 title. She was named a WGCA Freshman of the Year and a First Team All-American. She was the 2016 American Junior Golf Association Rolex Tournament of Champions winner en route to taking home AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors.
Albane Valenzuela, 19, of Switzerland, was the runner-up in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, falling to Sophia Schubert, 6 and 5. A rising junior at Stanford University, she was one of three amateurs and the youngest golfer to play in the 2016 Olympic Games. She was one of six players in the field to make the cut in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing 24th. The runner-up in the 2017 European Ladies Amateur Championship, she is a three-time recipient of the Swiss Ladies and Junior Order of Merit, and was one of three amateurs to make the cut in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open. A member of the 2015 European Junior Solheim Cup Team, she also finished tied for low amateur in the 2016 LPGA’s ANA Inspiration. Born in New York City, she spent a few years living in Mexico, where she learned to play golf at age 3, before moving to Switzerland in 2003. She is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and has a good working knowledge of German.
Lilia Vu, 20, of Fountain Valley, Calif., was a semifinalist in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, falling to Albane Valenzuela, 3 and 2. Vu, who will be a junior at UCLA, was named the WGCA’s Player of the Year, after capturing four collegiate titles in a row and posting the lowest scoring average in UCLA history (70.37). She was a member of the winning 2018 USA Curtis Cup Team in June as well as the victorious 2018 USA Palmer Cup Team. Vu qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open and finished runner-up to USA Curtis Cup teammate Jennifer Kupcho in last year’s Canadian Women's Amateur. She comes into the championship No. 1 in the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Casey Weidenfeld, 15, of Pembroke Pine, Fla., recently won the American Junior Golf Association’s All-Star at Lost Springs in a playoff. She is a passionate writer, publishing her first book at the age of 11 "The Golden Flares," a 184-page adventure that follows Fallon, an orphaned outlaw caught in the politics of a civil war. It is the first of a planned trilogy.
Katy Winters, 28, of Andover, Kan., qualified for her second USGA championship after competing in the U.S. Girls’ Junior 11 years ago. She was the runner-up in the 2009 and 2010 Kansas Women’s Amateur Championship. A 2012 graduate of the University of Arkansas, Winters works as a trading operations supervisor. Winter is also a current board member with The First Tee of Greater Wichita.
Bethany Wu, 21, of Diamond Bar, Calif., won the 2016 Women’s Trans National Championship. She was runner-up to fellow 2016 USA Curtis Cup competitors Bailey Tardy and Mariel Galdiano in the 2015 North & South Women’s Amateur and Canadian Women’s Amateur championships, respectively. The rising senior at UCLA advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur and was the medalist in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur and represented the USA in the 2016 Curtis Cup Match. Wu helped the Bruins capture the 2018 Pac-12 title. Before college, she played on the victorious 2013 USA Junior Solheim Cup and 2014 USA Junior Ryder Cup teams.
Chia-Yen Wu, 14, of Chinese Taipei, became the youngest semifinalist in U.S. Women’s Amateur history last August at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif. To reach the final four, she won the longest extra-hole match in USGA championship history, going 12 extra holes – 30 total – to outlast 2018 USA Curtis Cup competitor and University of Alabama All-American Lauren Stephenson. Wu advanced to the Round of 16 in this year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Kelly Xu, 14, of Claremont, Calif., was the first female champion at Augusta National Golf Club when she won the 7-9 Division in the inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship in 2014. Xu won her title shortly before another 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur competitor, Lucy Li, won the Girls 10-11 Division.
Nancy Xu, 21, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is competing in her second USGA championship after recently graduating with a degree in software engineering from Columbia University in New York City. Xu was a recipient of USGA-Chevron STEM Scholarship. She does not plan to pursue golf as a profession, but wants the game to always be a part of her life. She plans on working as a software engineer in the fall.
Suzuka Yamaguchi, 17, of Japan, was a quarterfinalist in this year’s U.S. Girls Junior, falling to Alexa Pano, 4 and 3. Yamaguchi won the 2018 Australian Women’s Amateur, as well as the 2018 Avondale Amateur and the 2018 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final. The 2017 Japan women’s high school champion, Yamaguchi qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club when she was 14.
Avery Zweig, 11, of McKinney, Texas, is the youngest competitor in this year’s field. Zweig was the youngest qualifier in U.S. Girls’ Junior history and has won 172 events. She competed against college players and other top amateurs as a 10-year-old in the South-Atlantic Ladies Amateur (SALLY), making the championship flight and finishing 30th out of 98 players. Already a two-time Drive, Chip & Putt national finalist, Zweig has also raised approximately $250,000 for “The Win Green” campaign that she started in 2015. The campaign raises awareness for pediatric cancer.