Green Medalist at First U.S. Women’s Open Sectional Qualifier
By Luke Brietzke
CARROLLTON, Texas – Jaye Marie Green of Boca Raton, Fla., relied on her putter to post a 2-under-par 138 total and earn medalist honors by one stroke at a 36-hole U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier on Monday at the 6,496-yard, par-70 Honors Golf Club.
Green, who was runner-up to Lydia Ko at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, overcame windy conditions and hitting into four water hazards to secure one of the five available Women’s Open spots at the first of 24 sectional qualifiers.
The U.S. Women’s Open will be contested June 19-22 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
Green (69-69) posted four birdies during the afternoon round, overcoming a double bogey on No. 18 and a bogey on No. 9, her final hole.
After signing her card, Green learned that she had held off Maria Hernandez, of Spain, for medalist honors. Hernandez carded a second-round 68 after opening with an even-par 71.
“I just wanted to be in the top five, because we were all going to be in the Open anyway,” said Green, “but medalist honors is always awesome.”
This will be Green’s third Women’s Open appearance, but first as a professional. The 20-year-old missed the cut in 2010 and 2012 at Oakmont Country Club and Blackwolf Run, respectively.
On a tough day for scoring, Green consistently sank clutch putts.
“I hit a lot of good shots,” said Green, who turned pro shortly after losing to Ko in the Women’s Amateur final at The Country Club in Cleveland. “I feel like with this wind, you’re going to hit good ones and bad. I hit a lot of greens, but on the ones I didn’t, I got up and down and that was definitely all about my putting.”
Fittingly, Green finished her round by wriggling out of trouble to save bogey after hitting her drive into the water on No. 9.
Green also managed to twice save par after hitting her tee shot into the water on the par-5 second hole. Green’s father and caddie, Donnie Green – sporting his customary spiked white hair under his visor – could only smile at what was happening.
“I told my dad, ‘I guess that’s one way to par the hole right there,’” Green said.
Recovery from disappointment is nothing new for Green, who chose LPGA Tour Q-School over a scholarship to the University of Florida out of high school.
Green failed to earn her LPGA Tour card on her first attempt, but has not regretted the decision.
She spent a year on the Symetra Tour before returning to Q-School last December. This time, she qualified in style, breaking the tournament record with a 29-under 331.
Hernandez is also heading to the U.S. Women’s Open for a third time, her first since 2010. She tied for 34th in 2009 at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa., and finished tied for 41st in 2010 at Oakmont.
Belen Mozo, also of Spain and a former standout at the University of Southern California, took the third qualifying spot at even-par 140, shooting a pair of 70s. It will be Mozo’s fourth consecutive Women’s Open appearance, but she’ll be looking to make the 36-hole cut for the first time. Mozo and Green were the only golfers on Monday to shoot par or better in both rounds.
LPGA Tour members Katie Burnett, of Brunswick, Ga., and Lisa McCloskey, of Houston, garnered the final two spots at 1-over 141, but they arrived at their tie for fourth in different ways.
Burnett, who missed the cut in her only other U.S. Women’s Open start in 2012, started slowly with a 3-over 73 before bouncing back for a 2-under 68 in Round 2. McCloskey, a member of the 2012 USA Curtis Cup Team, started strongly with a 68 to share the first-round lead with Giulia Molinaro, but struggled to a 73 in the afternoon.
“This is awesome,” said McCloskey, who will play in her third Women’s Open, but first as a professional. “I missed last year, which was really hard – going through 36 holes and not making it. The fact that it’s at Pinehurst and with the guys, it’s going to be awesome.”
NOTES: Ashleigh Simon earned first-alternate honors by outlasting Hannah Jun in a playoff that lasted three holes. Both players shot 2-over 142 … Ashley Malinchak delivered the shot of the day during the first round when she holed out a 3-wood into the wind on the 210-yard par-3 12th hole … Emily Campbell finished as low amateur at 7-over-147…Ryann O’Toole, an LPGA Tour member who finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2011, failed to qualify. She withdrew after posting an 11-over 81 … Fellow LPGA Tour members Silvia Cavalleri (the 1997 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion), Vicky Hurst and Jimin Kang also failed to qualify.
Luke Brietzke is a Dallas-based writer.
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