__CHARLOTTE--__Could less be more?
It's a question Numa Gulyanamitta was asking herself as she entered this week's U.S Women's Amateur. Since helping Purdue win the NCAA women's championship in May, the 21-year-old native of Thailand had played only one tournament prior to arriving at Charlotte CC, albeit a big one: the U.S. Women's Open.
After shooting a 81-75 at Oakmont CC, the senior-to-be returned to West Lafayette, Ind., for summer school, taking three classes toward her degree in aviation management. While practicing a bit when the fickle Midwestern weather wasn't keeping her off the course, it wasn't until the last two weeks that Gulyanamitta finally started to pick up the pace in anticipation of her third appearance in the Amateur.
If there's been any rust, you'd hardly notice. Gulyanamitta handled the sweltering weather conditions (temperatures hovered in the mid-90s all day) and advanced to the quarterfinals by knocking off medalist Jaclyn Sweeney, 5 and 3, in Thursday morning's second round, then defeating__Callie Nielson__ in the afternoon third round.
"I think I'm almost there," Gulyanamitta said about her game. "There are a few things I need to work on but I'm pretty happy with where I am at."
Gulyanamitta is not the first person in her family to have had success in a USGA event in the state of North Carolina. Her older sister, Russy, was the runner-up to__Catherine Cartwright__ at the 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links when it was played at Legacy GL in Aberdeen.
"She reminded me of that. But that was a long time ago," Gulyanamitta laughed. "I was still in Thailand."
While missing the cut at Oakmont might not have seemed to be a way to build confidence, Gulyanamitta says that being able to bounce back from an ugly first round to post a respectable second round score.
"I learned a lot from that one," said Gulyanamitta, who will face recent Denver graduate Stephanie Sherlock in Friday's quarterfinals. "Now I know what I have to do, what I need to do and what I can't do on the golf course."
Maybe there is something to be said about having taken a break during the summer. Jessica Korda credits taking some time off after playing in last month's U.S. Women's Open for why she's playing so solidly this week.
The 17-year-old high school senior-to-be advanced to the quarterfinals for the second straight year when she defeated arguably the hottest golf of the summer, Lisa McCloskey, in 20 holes during their Thursday afternoon third-round match.
"I'm very well rested," Korda said. "I just feel ready."
Korda was trailing for most of the round, but hung around, squaring the match on the 10th hole with a birdie. Having taken the lead with a birdie on the 17th hole, Korda then bogeyed the 18th to see the match go to extra holes. On the 19th, McCloskey made a 15-foot birdie putt, only to watch Korda roll in a 12 footer on top of that.
"I knew it was going in from the moment I hit," Korda said, a fist pump accentuating the moment.
An errant tee shot by McCloskey on the 20th hole led to a eventual bogey, while Korda rolled in another birdie, her sixth of the match to close out her opponent.
Aside from wanting to win the Robert Cox Trophy, Korda has had another goal this week: play well enough to make the U.S. Women's World Amateur Team. Korda played in the event in 2008 for the Czech Republic, she has dual citizenship, but said making the American team has been in the back of her mind all summer.
Suffice it to say, she is making a strong case for her selection on the three-player team. Before taking down McCloskey, Korda knocked off fellow Curtis Cupper Stephanie Kono in the first round and former college All-American Candace Schepperle in the second round.
It doesn't get any easier on Friday as Korda will face Erynne Lee, one of this year's three medalists. It will be a re-match from a year ago, when Korda defeated Lee in the third round, 2 and 1.
Friday's quarterfinals matches have been moved up because of potential thunderstorms in the afternoon forecast. Here's the new schedule;
10 a.m.—Kristen Park vs. Jennifer Kirby
10:10—Sydnee Michaels vs. Danielle Kang
10:20—Numa Gulyanamitta vs. Stephanie Sherlock
10:30—Erynne Lee vs. Jessica Korda