5 Things to Watch: Round 1 September 26, 2017 | SANTA FE, N.M. By David Chmiel, USGA

Kay Daniel (left) and Abbey Daniel, of Louisiana, competed together in this year's U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

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The 12th and final USGA Women’s State Team Championship is underway at The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, N.M. This is only the second USGA championship in New Mexico, joining the 1999 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at Santa Ana Golf Club in Santa Ana Pueblo.

The Women’s State Team is a 54-hole stroke-play event, with three-player teams playing 18 holes of stroke play on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The top two scores count toward the team score and there is a 36-hole cut to the low 21 teams, including ties. Any individual whose team missed the cut but is within five strokes of the individual lead.

Here are five things to watch in Round 1.

Fond Farewell: This will be the final playing of the USGA’s State Team championships, which began in 1995 as part of the Association’s Centennial Celebration. They were conducted on a biennial basis until 2010, when the men and women began alternating years. After a two-year review process with state and regional golf associations, it was announced in March that the USGA would retire the championships at the end of the 2017 season. Georgia has won the most Women’s State Team Championships (2005, 2009, 2011, 2015); no other team has won multiple titles.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: The Women’s State Team Championship will be played on the Sunrise Course at Las Campanas. Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 2003, the course provides breathtaking views of the high-desert vistas; the par-72 layout loops around the property and will play 6,186 yards. The competitors will face plenty of dogleg-rights, but the 362-yard 18th hole features water running along the left side of the hole from tee to green. Nicklaus also designed the Sunset Course at Las Campanas.

Bookends: Six women have played in the first and final USGA Women’s State Team Championships: Tara Joy-Connelly (Massachusetts 1995, Florida); Carolyn Creekmore (Texas); Karen Darrington (Idaho); Andrea Kraus (Maryland); Susan Marchese (Nebraska) and Sue Billek Nyhus (Utah).

Look Out Below: The Club at Las Campanas is approximately 7,000 feet above sea level, which means that competitors can expect about an 8 percent spike in distance on full shots. The air thins out as you climb higher; that thinner air creates less drag on the golf ball. It also means that less drag makes it harder to shape shots. Of course, the altitude also has an impact on the athletes. The thin, dry air makes it tough to catch your breath, so the competitors need to take their time and stay hydrated for peak performance.

All in the Family: The field includes five family combinations: The mother-daughter duos include: Kay Daniel, 46, and Abbey Daniel, 16, of Louisiana; and Heidi Haylock, 45, and Ruby Haylock, 13, of Maine. The sister combinations are: Anika Richards, 13, and Katelin Richards, 15, of Alaska; and Anci Dy, 14, and Anika Dy, 16, of Michigan. Janice Calomiris, 58, of the District of Columbia, is the aunt of Julia Calomiris, 17, of the District of Columbia.

David Chmiel is the manager of members content for the USGA. Email him at

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