Newell Survives Marathon Day to Reach Quarterfinals August 14, 2015 | PORTLAND, Ore. By Lisa D. Mickey

Anna Newell needed to play 42 holes Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the 115th U.S. Women's Amateur. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

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Anna Newell played more golf than anybody Thursday to move into the quarterfinal round of the 115th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.

In the Round of 32 Thursday morning, it took 25 holes to finally defeat Lucia Gutierrez Ballon, of Peru. In the afternoon, she closed out Bailey Tardy, of Georgia, 2 and 1.

Forty-two holes later at Portland Golf Club, Newell was ready for dinner, a foot massage and an early bedtime.

“My legs are about to fall off for sure, my hips hurt a lot, and I’m ready to sit down,” said Newell, 19, of Tampa, Fla., following her Thursday rounds. “It’s been a long day, but a fun day.”

Playing her first 25-hole match, Newell had a birdie chance on the first extra hole to seal a victory, but missed the putt.

“It just kept on going and going and going,” said Newell, a sophomore at the University of Tennessee. “Neither one of us would give up. When she missed her putt on No. 7, I was like, ‘Finally, it’s over.’”

In her second match, she and Tardy, an incoming freshman at the University of Georgia, matched shots for most of the day until Newell won the 16th hole with a bogey to go 2 up. Newell secured victory when No. 17 was halved with pars.

During her morning marathon, Newell tried to focus on each shot.

“I tried not to think about it [extra holes],” she said. “I didn’t think about it in the first match this morning, either.”

Her older sister, Alexandra, caddied for her in her U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier and is on her bag this week, arriving in Oregon after unsuccessfully attempting to advance through Stage I of the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament last week in California.

Alexandra, who completed her college eligibility at Tennessee in May, kept reminding her little sister there was plenty of golf to play.

“You just have to keep drinking water, keep eating and my sister put a wet towel on my neck,” said the younger Newell, an all-Southeastern Conference player who won two tournaments in the spring season.

Another important thing Newell took away from Thursday’s matches was trying not to “get emotional.”

“If you get emotional, then you’re just exhausted,” she added. “Throughout match play, I just tried to stay really calm and really relaxed. It’s like if you win, you keep going on, and if you lose, you go home.”

Newell is looking forward to going home to Florida for a few days before she begins school next Wednesday. She’s looking forward to rejoining the Vols’ women’s golf team that advanced into the quarterfinals of the 2015 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship in May.

A week of pressure-packed golf should prepare her, and there’s always a chance she could meet SEC rival Tardy in the same events.

“Now, going back [to college] ... it won’t be that long since I’ve played under pressure,” she said of this week’s Women’s Amateur. “It’s a good feeling to have that confidence going back to school.”

When asked what will be her takeaway from this week’s championship, Newell credited a newfound confidence in her putting.

“This is the best putting I’ve had in a very long time,” she said. “I’m seeing the lines and hitting it there and I think this experience will help me become a better putter. That’s one thing that’s held me back.”

Newell’s next obstacle is Mathilda Cappeliez, 17, of France, in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.

“I’m lucky to make it this far,” said Newell, who missed match play in the 2010 and 2013 U.S. Girls’ Juniors. “I wanted to make the cut, and then I won my first match.”

Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.


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