Making history at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball sometimes comes with some caveats, given the championship is only in its fifth year. But that didn’t lessen the accomplishment of Aneka Seumanutafa and Faith Choi during the first round of stroke-play qualifying on Saturday. The Maryland teenagers combined for a 12-under 60 at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., breaking the championship record for lowest 18-hole stroke-play score by four shots.
The previous mark was 64, set twice before: by Brittany Fan and Esther Lee in Round 2 at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2017, and by Yachun Chang and Lei Ye in Round 1 at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., in 2018.
Seumanutafa, 18, made 10 birdies on her own ball during a bogey-free round. The feat was all the more impressive given that she did not get to practice on the course. A freshman at Ohio State, she had helped the Buckeyes win the Big Ten Championship title earlier in the week, then rushed back to Columbus for school.
“Because I had a college final, I just flew in this morning and got my information from [Faith],” said Seumanutafa, who enrolled at OSU in January. “I’m a long hitter, so I had a lot of wedges in.”
Choi, 16, made two birdies and narrowly missed a third from 10 feet on the par-4 18th that would have given the pair a 59.
“To be honest, this is our first time playing four-ball,” said Choi, who has committed to Ohio State in 2020. “We’ve practiced and played a lot of junior golf together as teammates, but not necessarily as partners.”
Choi claimed that the duo’s strategy was to combine her consistency with Seumanutafa’s aggressive play. It worked in Round 1, as none of the birdie putts the team converted were longer than 10 feet.
The next best score at Timuquana on Saturday was a seven-under 65 from Julia Potter-Bobb and Kelsey Chugg, a pair of U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions.
The second round of stroke-play qualifying is set for Sunday, with the top 32 teams through 36 holes advancing to match play.