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The Loop

Don't fault Uribe for skipping Women's Am

U.S. Women's Amateur champion Maria Jose Uribe became the 11th amateur golfer since 1998 to post a top-15 finish at the U.S. Women's Open when she finished T-10 at Interlachen CC and just the second amateur ever to finish 72 holes with a sub-par score (two-under 290). Not surprisingly, then, the 18-year-old sophomore-to-be at UCLA is looking forward to her start at next month's Ricoh Women's British Open.

The USGA, on the other hand, isn't quite as thrilled.

By playing over at Sunningdale, where she will become the first female amateur to compete in all four women's professional majors in a single year, Uribe will forgo defending her Women's Amateur title at Eugene (Ore.) CC. The Women's British is set for July 31 to Aug. 3. The Women's Amateur is Aug. 4-10. While I wasn't in Minnesota last week, my understanding is a few USGA officials voiced to the Colombia native their disappointment about Uribe's pending schedule. (TV commentator Dottie Pepper also was critical of the choice of tournaments during last week's telecast.)

It's understandable that some would be upset about the fact Uribe won't try to become the 11th repeat winner of the Cox Cup. Still, put yourself in Uribe's shoes. What will be the best for her development? Coming off the heels of such an impressive showing at Interlachen, where she arguably outperformed the No. 1 player in the women's professional game, Lorena Ochoa, and the reigning U.S. Women's Open champion,Cristie Kerr, wouldn't you want to continue to test your game against the world's best?

Sure, there isn't as much romance in going over to England rather than playing in Oregon, but can you really find fault in somebody who wants to play in a major championship? If this was a male amateur choosing to play in the British Open rather than the U.S. Amateur, would there be the same uproar?

From the gratuitous use of a graphic department:


OK, Stacy Lewis is no longer an amateur, but she got another shot at playing in the same event with her college rival, Amanda Blumenherst, this past week at the U.S. Women's Open. Despite a disappointing Sunday performance, Lewis, who was the 54-hole tournament leader at Interlachen, did post a T-3 finish in her pro debut. Blumenherst, meanwhile, made her third straight cut in the U.S. Women's Open, but finished 10 strokes back of Lewis in a tie for 38th place.