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Top Seeds Tumble at 99th Women’s Texas Amateur

AUSTIN – Wednesday morning’s Round of 32 in the Championship Match Play Bracket of the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur brought a host of major upsets. Half of the top-10 seeded competitors made early exits from the University of Texas Golf Club after the first round of match play.

It started right off the bat, too, as St. Mary’s University sophomore Estelle Beck, the No. 32 seed, knocked off the No. 1 seed and Qualifying Round Medalist, Baylor senior Gurleen Kaur, 4 and 2. Beck and Kaur traded 1-up leads during the first nine holes. On the par-3 12th, Beck squared the match when Kaur made a bogey.

From there, Beck’s putter caught on fire. She rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on No. 13 to go 1 up. She eased in a two-putt par on the 14th hole to go 2 up. Beck then drained a 25-foot birdie on the long par-4 15th to go 3 up.

“I just went into today thinking I had nothing to lose,” said Beck, who had to survive a four-person playoff on Tuesday to sneak into the Championship Match Play Bracket. “I just wanted to do my best, and I really did. I’ve never really done this well under pressure before. It’s a major point in my life where I’m feeling very comfortable and confident now.”

That was more than evident on the next hole. After her tee shot, 55 feet stood between Beck’s ball and the flagstick. It was an uphill putt for birdie that broke severely from right to left. She visualized her ball tracking to the hole and made her stroke. A few seconds later, her ball dove into the hole, a birdie bomb that ended the match and took down the No. 1-seeded Kaur.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Beck said. “I just hit the putt and stood there with my hand over my mouth, thinking, ‘Holy…’ Then I heard my aunt and my mom scream. It was really awesome.”

Normally, the 32nd-seeded player taking down the overall No. 1 seed is a huge story. Wednesday at UT Golf Club, it was just the beginning. Julia Gregg, the Arkansas sophomore who was the runner-up at the 97th Women’s Texas Amateur in 2018, earned the No. 31 seed on Tuesday in Qualifying. Like Beck, Gregg had to fight her way into the Championship Match Play Bracket through a playoff.

Gregg then dispatched the second-seeded Faith Delagarza, 2 and 1. Gregg and Delagarza, a Dallas Baptist University sophomore, took turns leading their match for most of the day. Gregg took a 1-up lead with a birdie on the par-4 13th and ended the match with another birdie on the par-4 17th.

Continuing the morning’s trend, Fourth-seeded Hailee Cooper, a Texas junior playing on her team’s home course, lost a heartbreaker in 20 holes to 29th-seeded Hunter Nugent, a University of Indianapolis sophomore.

Also going down in the Round of 32 were eighth-seeded Hannah Holzmann and No. 9 seed Jennie Park. Holzmann, a junior at the University of Texas-San Antonio, fell 2 and 1 to 25th-seeded Hailey Jones, the Oklahoma State sophomore and three-time Legends Junior Tour Player of Year. Park, a Texas Christian University sophomore, suffered a 3-and-2 loss to University of Alabama senior Kenzie Wright to cap off the morning session of higher-seeded players prevailing.

In the afternoon, Gregg backed up her early victory with another upset in the Round of 16. The former Prestonwood Christian Academy standout defeated No. 15 seed and University of Tennessee junior Mikayla Bardwell, 1 up.

Beck said the day’s results underscores the strength of the field and fickle nature of match play golf.

“It shows that everyone has their days, and this course is extremely challenging,” said Beck, who suffered a 4-and-3 defeat in the Round of 16 to University of Kentucky sophomore Kelsey Wylie. “Everyone in this tournament is a great player. There is a very high skill level here.”

After the topsy-turvy morning Round of 32, form mostly held in the afternoon’s Round of 16. No. 3 seed Stanford freshman Sadie Englemann needed 21 holes to defeat Texas A&M senior Ava Schwienteck, the No. 14 seed. Englemann is the highest-seeded player remaining in the championship.

No. 5 seed Makenzie Niblett, an incoming freshman at Texas A&M, also advanced to the Quarterfinals, as did sixth-seeded Bentley Cotton, an incoming Texas freshman and No. 7 seed Kennedy Pedigo, a senior at Southern Methodist University.

Jones, the former LJT standout, joins Gregg as the two highest-seeded players to make it into the Quarterfinals. The 25th-seeded Jones outlasted Wright, the Alabama senior, in 20 holes to advance.

Thursday morning bring the Quarterfinals, which starts at 7:30 a.m. Also on Thursday morning, the four additional flights will play their Semifinals matches. In the afternoon, the Championship Bracket will play their Semifinals matches. For more information on the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur, click here.