Stroke Play: 5 Groups to Watch August 2, 2017 | Far Hills, N.J. By David Shefter, USGA

Albane Valenzuela, of Switzerland, one of three amateurs to compete in the 2016 Olympics, gets started at 8 a.m. PDT on Monday. (USGA/Chris Keane)

U.S. Women's Amateur Home      Tee Times: Rounds 1 and 2

The 117th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship returns to Southern California for only the fourth time in its illustrious history and for the second time at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista. In 1993, Jill McGill, then an All-American at the University of Southern California, defeated Sarah LeBrun Ingram, 1 up, in the 36-hole final. Who will prevail in 2017? That will be determined Aug. 7-13 as 156 of the world’s premier female amateurs will compete for the coveted Robert Cox Trophy.

Stroke play takes place Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8, with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play, which begins on Aug. 9.

With tee times released on Wednesday, here are five groups to watch for the first two rounds of stroke play (All times PDT):

Erica Shepherd, Albane Valenzuela, Lindsey McCurdy (Monday, No. 10, 8 a.m.; Tuesday, No. 1, 1 p.m.)

Shepherd, 16, of Greenwood, Ind., is fresh off of winning the 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., on July 29. Valenzuela, a rising sophomore at Stanford University, represented Switzerland in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, one of three amateurs to compete in the competition. She also made the cut in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, tying for 67th. McCurdy, 22, of Liberty Hill, Texas, is a 2017 graduate of Southern Methodist University who is competing in her third consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur, where she was a quarterfinalist in 2015 at Portland (Ore.) Golf Club. She also won this year’s Women’s Southern Amateur.

Jaravee Boonchant, Hannah O’Sullivan, Sarah Spicer (Monday, No. 1, 8:20 a.m.; Tuesday, No. 10, 1:20 p.m.)

Duke University coach Dan Brooks might be interested in two of the players in this group. O’Sullivan, 19, of Chandler, Ariz., the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, and Boonchant, 18, of Thailand, both are incoming freshmen at the Durham, N.C., campus. O’Sullivan, a 2016 USA Curtis Cup competitor, skipped last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur because she was competing in the Women’s British Open, an exemption she earned by winning the Women’s Amateur title the previous year at Portland Golf Club. Boonchant won the 2016 Annika Invitational. Spicer, 19, of Bahama, N.C., will get an up-close look at two of her future Atlantic Coast Conference rivals. The 2015 North Carolina Women’s Amateur champion is a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech University, where she competes with her twin sister, Jessica.

Cheyenne Knight, Kornkamol Sukaree, Jillian Hollis (Monday, No. 1, 8:10 a.m.; Tuesday, No. 10, 1:10 p.m.)

Currently No. 7 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, Knight, 20, of Aledo, Texas, is one of the top Americans in the field. The rising junior at the University of Alabama was the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Year in 2016-17, as well as a first-team Women’s Golf Coaches of America All-American. She has reached the Round of 32 in each of the last two U.S. Women’s Amateurs. Hollis, 20, of Rocky River, Ohio, is one of Knight’s SEC rivals, as she is a rising junior at the University of Georgia. While this is her first U.S. Women’s Amateur, Hollis won the 2016 Women’s Western Amateur, a match-play competition. Sukaree, 17, is a rising senior at the Anaheim (Calif.) Discovery Christian School who is competing in her first USGA championship.

Hannah Kim, Bohyun Park, Robynn Ree (Monday, No. 10, 1:30 p.m.; Tuesday, No. 1 8:30 a.m.)

Kim, 21, of Chula Vista, Calif., should have plenty of hometown support as she lives only 3 miles from San Diego Country Club. The rising senior at Northwestern University helped the Wildcats reach the championship match of this past year’s NCAA Championship. Ree, 20, of Redondo Beach, Calif., was one of the last players to get into the field as the first alternate from the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., sectional qualifier. In 2015, Ree was the runner-up with partner Hannah O’Sullivan in the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes. She is a rising junior at the University of Southern California. Park, 14, of the Republic of Korea, is a 2017 graduate of the Barbara Bush Middle School in Irving, Texas. This is her first USGA championship.

Jennifer Kupcho, Amy Lee, Madeline Sager (Monday, No. 1, 2 p.m.; Tuesday, No. 10, 9 a.m.)

Kupcho, 20, of Westminster, Colo., is coming off a victory in the Canadian Women’s Amateur as well as a runner-up finish in this year’s NCAA Championship. She also tied for 21st in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club. The rising junior at Wake Forest University is the highest-ranked American in the WAGR at No. 4. Lee, 20, of Brea, Calif., is a rising senior at Baylor University. She won the 2013 PGA Junior Championship, helped the U.S. win the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup and advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Sager, 20, of Valley Forge, Pa., is a rising sophomore at Seton Hall University who is competing in her first USGA championship.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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