August 7, 2015
Sixty-three women made the cut in the 2015 Women’s Open at Lancaster CC, with scores ranging from 7-under to 4-over.
That 11-stroke differential was a bit deceiving, however. Amy Yang of Korea went a little nuts in the second round, shooting a 4-under 66 that put her three strokes ahead of the rest of the field. Her 133 total was the next best two-round start to the Open since Helen Alfreddson’s 132 in 1994.
At the other end of those who made the cut, twenty players were bunched at 3- or 4-over, including a pair of American Women’s Open rookies who were slotted together for the third round.
Liz Nagel is a Symetra Tour player this year, a newbie who played her college golf at Michigan State. She is also a cancer survivor, treated for thyroid issues that likely would have gone undetected were it not for playing on her school squad. The cancer is now in remission.
Kim Kaufman is in her second year on the LPGA tour, and had a great start to her career in 2014. Despite prior USGA tournament experience in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, however, the South Dakota native had never played in the Women’s Open.
The two youngsters set off as the sixth pairing at 9:19 a.m., one of five All-American pairings for the Saturday round. Kaufman began her day at four-over, while Nagel was 3-over. Both parred the first hole, but their relative positions switched on the second.
Kaufman made birdie after a drive in the fairway and good approach onto the green. Nagel’s drive drifted into the right rough, almost on the fans’ walkway, and her approach shot bounced over the green. Her chip back went too far, and Nagel had her first bogey for the day.
There were more to follow, unfortunately.
An approach to the par-4 fifth hole left Nagel at least 40 feet for her first putt, and she three-putted for a bogey. That was followed by a double-bogey on the par-3 eighth, caused by short-siding the tee shot into a bunker, blasting out beyond the green, and a couple bad chips.
Meanwhile, Kaufman kept up a steady stream of pars, a few of which could have been birdies if her putts had gone a little further.
Both players struggled on the par-4 9th hole, with bogeys that put them in good company with most of their competition.
Nagel’s round went further south on her on the back nine. Trouble off the tee led to another bogey on the 10th hole, a singed putt caused a bogey on the 11th, a lip-out on 12 created another bogey, and a butchered chip shot on 14 added yet another extra stroke to Nagel’s card.
Kaufman parred 10, made a good bogey on 11, and parred the next three holes. On the 15th hole Kaufman made one of the best shots of the tournament, when she hit her approach on the par-4 to only two inches from the hole. Nagel had hit a poor second shot, and was too far downhill to see what Kaufman had done.
When Nagel walked up to the green and saw the ball nestled against the hole, she quickly turned around, faced Kaufman, and applauded–a very classy move.
As we walked toward the 16th tee, I told Kaufman, “Two-inch birdies are nice.” Kaufman grinned and said, “Yeah. I’ll take them any time. Lot less stressful.”
Nagel’s round continued its downward slide with a triple bogey on the 16th hole, which was only salvaged by making a 12-foot uphill putt. She parred 17, however, and also finished with a par on the very difficult 18th hole.
Kaufman three-putted for a bogey on 17, but also parred 18.
Kaufman finished one-over for the day, tied for 42d, while Nagel’s 83 assured her of finishing last among the 63 players on Saturday. Nagel still found reasons to smile afterward, however, not least of which because this bad round came after the cut, not before. As she said, “Hey, I made the Open!”
There are other factors. I can well imagine that her mother and sister’s presence during the round, along with her father caddying, as well as her recent health challenges, have probably helped this young woman keep her golf in perspective.
Kaufman played well, perhaps showing her broader experience as a professional. She was also a quick golfer between shots, something noted by USGA Official Emily Crisp, who accompanied the pair during the round. “Kim’s just so good at maintaining the pace of play. I wish more golfers would follow her example,” Crisp said.
Nagel shot even par in the fourth round, finishing the Women’s Open in 63d place, and proving that her 83 was the wrong kind of exceptional. Nonetheless, her four-day total put her only two strokes behind Korea’s Mi Jung Hur, and earned Nagel $11,402.
Kaufman also shot an even-par round on Sunday, and finished in a tie for 35th. She picked up a nice $23,683 check. This is the fourth article in a series about this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.
Zac Oakley wins Delaware Open
This year’s Delaware Open took place Aug. 3-4 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, and there’s a nice local connection for the winner.
Zac Oakley is one of Pete Oakley’s sons, and followed in his dad’s footsteps as a golf pro. Representing The Rookery South, Zac, 33, won the Open by three strokes over Ryan Rucinski, an amateur from Fieldstone CC near Wilmington.
Pete Oakley is not only a co-founder/owner of The Rookery, but the 2004 Senior British Open winner also did a stint as an assistant golf pro at Rehoboth Beach CC.
Other Cape Region golfers who made the Open cut included Lucas Farmer (RBCC), teaching pro Chris Krueger (Kings Creek CC), golf pro Michael Neider (PeninsulaG&CC), Ed Brown (RBCC), RBCC head golf pro Charlie Schuyler, Steven Harvey (RBCC), and golf pro Tyler Ferrati (KCCC).
Cape Region kids play in Drive, Chip, and Putt competitions
The Drive, Chip, and Putt competition is a major event for junior golfers throughout the country, highlighted by the finals each spring at Augusta National Golf Club, just before the Masters.
Four Cape Region kids recently tried their best in hopes of making it to the national championship in 2016. The juniors traveled north to Wilmington Country Club July 20 for a local qualifier competition, and did well.
Sawyer Brockstedt placed second overall in her (7-9) age group, coming in first in the driving segment and tying for first in putting. Burke Healy came in fourth overall in the 7-9 boys’ age group, with a first place in driving. Tyler Healy finished in sixth place, two spots below his brother, and taking second place in putting. Mckenna Danahy also competed in the 7-9-boys’ group.
Brockstedt’s performance earned her a spot in the next round, held August 3 at Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania. She finished in sixth place, with a 3rd in chipping and a 3rd in driving. For more information about the Championship, go to drivechipandputt.com.
Local Club Competition Results
The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies Golf League played a T & F game July 30. In this format, the only scores that count toward the total are the holes beginning with a T or an F (two, three, four, etc.).
Prabhat Karapurkar won first place in the first flight, followed by Sheree Mixell in second and Rita Musi in third. Joann Pearlman won the second flight, with Katie Heintz taking second place and Sherry Pie coming in third. Pie also won the closest to the hole contest for the day.
The Kings Creek Ladies 9 Hole Golf gang played their weekly tournament August 3, in a team format. Mary Beth Merolla, Natalie McGregor, and Amy Rowe took first place. Merolla also won Closest to the Pin honors on the thirteenth hole, at 8 feet 4 inches.