First Round Underway at U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links June 26, 2011 By Christina Lance

Bandon, Ore. Arizonans Julie Yang and Cheyenne Woods are atop the leaderboard midway through the first round of stroke-play qualifying for the 35th U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. The first round of qualifying is being conducted at the 6,095-yard Old Macdonald at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

Yang, 15, of Mesa, Ariz., opened with a bogey-5 on the 304-yard first hole. However, after making the turn at one-over-par, Yang cruised through her second nine, carding an even-par 37 to join Woods at 1-over 72.

With wind and rain making conditions difficult, determination – and a little bit of luck – played key roles in Yang’s solid start.

I was lucky because I teed off in the morning, so the wind was a lot calmer than it is now, said Yang, a native of Korea who competed at the 2010 Ricoh Women’s British Open and won the 2010 English Women’s Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship. I managed to stay steady and keep focused and just had solid pars all the way through. So I managed to get a good score in.

Woods, 20, of Phoenix, Ariz., played a slightly more up-and-down round, carding three birdies to go with four bogeys. Woods, who came into the championship trying to tinker with some elements of her swing, felt that her game finally came together today.

I felt really good, said Woods, who is the niece of nine-time USGA champion Tiger Woods. I knew going in that this course wasn’t the easiest. I knew that I needed to take advantage of my good tee time, since there wasn’t much wind on the first nine holes.

Closely following the co-leaders is a familiar name from 2010. Defending Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Emily Tubert, 19, of Burbank, Calif., bounced back from a bogey and double bogey over her first three holes to finish at 2-over 73.

Tubert, who just completed a stellar freshman season at the University of Arkansas, came into today’s first round a bit intimidated by the challenge of Old Macdonald. Today’s success, however, helped calm her championship nerves.

During the practice round, I was a little overwhelmed I think by the whole thing, as I’m sure many of the contestants were, said Tubert. But after today, I really enjoyed it. It’s a beautiful golf course. Playing it now and keeping score, you know why it’s such a world-renowned golf course.

Christine Wolf, 22, of Chattanooga, Tenn., carded a 3-over 74 that included 2-under 32 on her opening nine. Wolf is one of five qualifiers for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open in Colorado Springs, Colo., competing in this week’s championship.

Five players are one stroke farther back at 4-over-par 75, including Lee Lopez, a member of UCLA’s winning team at the 2011 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Golf Championship.

78 players have afternoon tee times. The second round of the Women’s Amateur Public Links will be conducted tomorrow at Bandon Trails. After two rounds, the 156-player field will be trimmed to 64 for match play, with the champion scheduled to be decided in a 36-hole final on Saturday.

Christina Lance is coordinator of championship communications for the USGA. Email questions or comments to clance@usga.org.