U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Diverse Princeton Golfers Ku, Lippetz Mesh Well in Team Format
May 23, 2016 | Bowling Green, Fla.
By Lisa D. Mickey
Left brain, right brain. Creative, mathematical. Risk-taking, calculating.
Jordan Lippetz and Hana Ku possess many qualities that are about as opposite as two players can have in this week’s 2nd U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Streamsong Blue.
But these opposites have somehow meshed. The rising seniors at Princeton University combined for a 36-hole total of 4-under-par 140 to advance into Monday’s first round of match play against Kaitlin Milligan and Sydney Youngblood. Ku and Lippetz twice rallied from 2-down deficits to win in 19 holes.
The pair ham-and-egged it for the two days of stroke play, closing with a birdie on Sunday for a 4-under 68.
“We were able to capitalize on every opportunity that we gave ourselves,” said Ku, 20, of Basking Ridge, N.J.
“We alternated birdies, which is what you’re supposed to do in this format,” added Lippetz, 21, of Oakland, Calif.
An English major, Lippetz spent last summer in Los Angeles working for three movie production companies and hopes to work in the entertainment industry.
Ku is majoring in operations research and financial engineering. While she is not sure what she wants to do when she graduates, her academic focus is looking quantitatively at probability statistics to help companies optimize financial decisions.
“It actually shows in our games more than you think,” said Lippetz, a second-team All-Ivy League selection this season, of their respective strengths.
“I tend to work my way around the course feel-wise, but when I watch Hana, it’s a very methodical approach focused on fairways, greens and two putts,” added Lippetz, who owns one collegiate win. “It’s interesting to see our creative and mathematical sides come out when we play.”
Ku noted that she strives to be “the par saver out there.”
“I just try to play as boring golf as possible,” said Ku, a first-team All-Ivy League selection this year.
Ku and her sister, Anina, qualified for last year’s inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, but they were forced to withdraw because the timing of the championship conflicted with Anina’s high school tournament schedule.
“This year, I found a new partner who didn’t have high school golf to play at this time of year, and I also knew she would be done with finals by the time this event was held,” said Ku.
Unfortunately for Ku and Lippetz, the Tigers did not qualify for this week’s NCAA Championship, but their top two players are still sporting their school colors in a USGA championship.
“I don’t know how many other current college players are in the field here this week, but to be representing Princeton after our season is such an honor,” said Lippetz. “We’re wearing our team gear every day and to make it into Monday’s first round of match play is a treat.”
While she is from the San Francisco Bay Area, Lippetz is staying this week in her family’s home in Bradenton, Fla. She attended IMG Academy there during high school, and is commuting to the championship each day from a familiar place.
The players also have the opportunity this week to get to know a future college teammate. Incoming Princeton freshman, Maya Walton of Austin, Texas, advanced into Monday’s Round of 32 with partner Ashley Fitzgibbons. They combined for a 36-hole total of 7-under 137.
Ku grew up in northern New Jersey, not far from the USGA’s headquarters. As a high school student, she volunteered at the USGA Museum and spent Friday afternoons working in the photo archive department.
“They have a pretty big archival storage area, so I catalogued photos,” said Ku, who led or co-led Princeton in four 2016 spring tournaments and placed in the top 10 in the school’s last four stroke-play events.
Ku recalled seeing a photo of The Apawamis Club in Westchester County, N.Y., that was taken in the early 1900s. When she played in a tournament at Apawamis, she vividly recalled the photo she had filed at the USGA office.
Ku also worked during the summer of 2014 with Princeton Engineers Without Borders in Peru, where she helped build an aqueduct to provide clean water for 10 families in a mountain village. Prior to the trip, she helped write the grant and organize the finances for the project.
“I wanted to get out of the country and see another part of the world,” said Ku. “Living in that village in the foothills of the Andes Mountains was really eye-opening, and no matter what your role was in making the trip happen, everybody was out there working when we got there.”
This summer, Ku will work as an intern in network planning at United Airlines in Chicago. Lippetz will be reading scripts and working to develop original programming with Stars Entertainment in Los Angeles.
Their career paths are opposite, but this week, their objective is identical.
“We’ve played really well and we just have to help each other stay positive,” said Lippetz.
Ku added, “Whenever we do get eliminated – and hopefully it’s further down the line – I just want us to walk off that course smiling and knowing that we represented ourselves and our school really well.”
Lisa Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.