Favorites advance in long day at the U.S. Women's Amateur
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A long day of double rounds at the U.S Women's Amateur came to an emphatic close Thursday evening, setting up a few heavyweight battles in Friday's quarterfinal at CC of Charleston. Reigning Public Links champion Lauren Diaz-Yi defeated stroke-play medalist Yumi Matsubara, 2 and 1, then knocked off Arizona's Kendall Prince, 4 and 3, in the Round of 16. In Friday's quarters, Diaz-Yi will face USC's Doris Chen, who beat 2012 Girls' Junior champ Minjee Lee, 2 and 1.
"I just tried to stay calm and not worry too much about how I was playing. I wanted to be confident over every shot," said Diaz-Yi, who defeated Chen, 10 and 9, in the 36-hole Public Links final earlier this summer. "Knowing Doris, she's going to want revenge. It's going to be a good match."
Chen, the 2010 Girls' Junior champion, defeated Kacie Komoto of Japan before eliminating 2012 Girls' Junior champ Minjee Lee, 2 and 1, to set up the rematch with Diaz-Yi.Â
Chen's teammate at USC and reigning NCAA champion Annie Park also advanced to the quarterfinals. The Levittstown, N.Y. native defeated another Long Islander, Kelly Shon, after beating Brittany Fan of Hawaii in the morning round. Park, who many have called the strongest player in the field, will play Yueer Cindy Feng in the quarters. Feng lost to Ally McDonald last month in the North & South Amateur final at Pinehurst, but defeated incoming Oklahoma State freshman Casie Cathrea Thursday afternoon to set up another chance for a big-time match play title.
"Both Casie and I left a lot out there. We really grinded until the last hole," said the 17-year-old Feng, who had her father on the bag. "He gets very excited, which is probably why I stay so mellow and calm on the course."
The other side of the bracket will see Texas Longhorn Katelyn Sepmoree pinned against Alison Lee, the runner-up at last year's Girls' Junior final and soon-to-be freshman at UCLA. Lee advanced to the quarterfinal by defeating Ireland's Leona Maguire and UNC-commit Alexandra Harkins Thursday. Sepmoree knocked off Purdue standout Aurora Kan in the Round of 16.
The last quarterfinal match will be Alabama's Emma Talley against Su-Hyun Oh, who advanced to the quarterfinal of last year's event before losing to Nicole Zhang. Along with Minjee Lee, Oh is a member of Team Australia and won the Australian Girls' Amateur championship in 2012.
As usual, the Women's Amateur quarterfinal is stacked with contenders. Depending on how the matches play out, we could see a USC head-to-head if Annie Park and Doris Chen both prevail Friday. Despite tomorrow's results, the semifinal and championship matches will prove exciting, especially on the thirsty Seth Raynor layout that seems to get drier and firmer with each passing day.