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.
Gurleen Kaur Earns Medalist Honors at 99th Women’s Amateur
AUSTIN – A little course knowledge went a long way on Tuesday for Baylor senior Gurleen Kaur at the University of Texas Golf Club. Quite familiar with the dramatic Hill Country course, Kaur poured in six birdies on her way to shooting a 4-under-par 67 during the Qualifying Round of the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur.
Kaur earned Medalist honors and the No. 1 seed in the Championship Match Play Bracket with her impressive round. The Houston native said between junior events, college tournaments and practice rounds, she’s easily played UT Golf Club more than a dozen times.
“I’ve played here so many times that this place feels like a second home,” said Kaur, the 68th-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. “This is the best I’ve ever seen the course. The greens are in perfect condition. My course knowledge really helps with knowing where you need to be in the fairway and for placement on the greens.”
After missing birdie tries on the first two holes, Kaur cashed in on the par-4 third hole when she rolled in a 6-footer. She backed it up with a 5-foot birdie on the par-4 fourth hole. The three-time collegiate tournament winner gave a stroke back with a bogey on the par-4 fifth, but she remedied that with a 12-foot birdie on the par-5 ninth hole.
“Then I chipped in for birdie on No. 10 from behind the green,” she said. “I almost drove the green on 13. I chipped that one up to about 3 feet and made birdie. On 16, the par 3, I hit it to about 20 feet and drained that one.”
It all added up to a tournament-best 67, which was four shots better than the four players who tied for second place. Faith Delagarza, a Dallas Baptist University senior from Midland; Sadie Englemann, a Stanford freshman from Austin; Hailee Cooper, a University of Texas junior from Montgomery; and Makenzie Niblett, a freshman at Texas A&M all finished at even-par 71 in the Qualifying Round.
For complete scores, click here.
This year’s championship features one of the strongest fields in recent memory. Five of the top 100 players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings are playing UT Golf Club this week, for example. That list includes Kingwood’s Hanna Alberto, the reigning Women’s Amateur champion. Ranked 62nd in the World, Alberto has won six college tournaments. She also played in the 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
“We’re obviously thrilled to be able to conduct this championship given the state of the world right now,” TGA Women’s Tournament Director Amy Worthington said. “Having such a strong field with so many elite college players only elevates this championship. We’re going to see some really, really good golf this week.”
In order to ensure a safe environment for everyone involved, the TGA developed specific player guidelines and a safety plan that is in full compliance with local orders. All players and spectators, as well as TGA volunteers and staff, are required to follow all guidelines. Masks or face covers, for example, are mandatory while indoors and while outdoors when safe distancing can’t be maintained, such as players sharing golf carts.
The TGA also has a dedicated staff member continually sanitizing all touchpoints during the championship, in addition to numerous other Covid-19 precautions.
Built in 2003 by Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell, UT Golf Club is a sprawling 7,412-yard, par-72 course. In Tuesday’s Qualifying Round, the best women amateurs in Texas played the classic Hill Country course as a par 71 from 6,121 yards.
Home of the UT Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams, the course is as scenic as it is demanding. Located in the upscale Steiner Ranch community of Austin, the UT Golf Club course overlooks the Colorado River and offers stunning panoramic views of the area’s vistas and valleys.
Championship golf courses tend to produce champions, and that certainly is the case here. UT Golf Club has been the home base for some of the game’s best young champions, including the likes of three-time major champion Jordan Spieth, PGA Tour winners Dylan Frittelli, Cody Gribble and Jhonattan Vegas, 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler, 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion Sophia Schubert and the 13th ranked female amateur in the world, Kaitlyn Papp.
In 2010, the Austin-based club hosted the 89th Women’s Texas Amateur. Texas A&M standout Sarah Zwartynski of Allen captured that title.
UT Golf Club General Manager Steve Termeer said the club couldn’t be more excited to welcome the best women amateurs in the state to its facility.
“To host the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur is just awesome,” he said. “We’re all about the spirit of competition. If you look at this trophy, it’s unbelievable. We’ve got Betsy Rawls, Betty Jameson and there’s a lady on here named Mary Ann Rathmell, who turned Mary Ann Morrison, and she won this event 10 times. She was a member of ours previously. It’s just an incredible honor for this club to host this event.”
The Rounds of 32 and 16 in the Championship Match Play Bracket will be played Wednesday, starting at 7:30 a.m. For more information on the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur, click here.