Alternate Entrance for Anderson (71) July 7, 2016 | San Martin, Calif. By Tom Mackin

Amy Anderson took advantage of her late addition into this week's U.S. Women's Open field by carding a 1-under 71 on Thursday. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

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Amy Anderson had just won a table-tennis match against another player in the CordeValle clubhouse on Monday afternoon when she learned that her status as an alternate for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open had changed. When Ha Neul Kim of Korea turned down an exemption for being a top-50 player in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, Anderson became the 156th and final player in the championship field.

“I knew I was right on the border for getting in, so I figured I’d come here and at least be on-site as an alternate until Thursday,” said Anderson, who arrived at CordeValle on Sunday night after her best finish of 2016, a tie for 25th in the Cambria Portland Classic. “It was pretty cool to get that news.”

The 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion made the most of her good fortune in the first round, shooting a 1-under-par 71. It’s a high point of a hectic stretch for Anderson, who is playing in her eighth consecutive tournament. The Oxbow, N.D., native plans to get some much needed rest prior to starting the second round at 12:41 p.m. off the first hole on Friday.

“I really need sleep right now,” she said. “Other than a nagging cough from some laryngitis, I feel pretty good physically. But mentally I’m ready for a few weeks off.”

Her only previous U.S. Women’s Open start was in 2011 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. “I remember a lot of rain delays and leading after the first round (thanks to a 69),” said Anderson, who went on to finish 63rd, then competed for the USA in the 2012 Curtis Cup Match at The Nairn Golf Club in Scotland. “I was an amateur and that was the first professional event I played in. It was just a lot of fun. I went into it with absolutely no expectations and played really well the first two days.”

Anderson intends to keep a similar easygoing vibe alive throughout this week. “I don’t do well if I get too serious or if I’m stressed out.”

But she is ready to play through the weekend if she makes the cut. “Oh, absolutely. That won’t be a problem.” Especially since Sunday’s final round will be played on her 24th birthday.

Arizona resident Tom Mackin is a frequent contributor to USGA websites. Email him at temackinjr@gmail.com


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