Pinehurst News

Defending Champion Gillman Earns Medalist Honors at 115th Women’s North & South

Defending Women’s North & South Amateur Champion Kristen Gillman won medalist honors on Tuesday.

By Stan Cole

Scores

Tee Times

PINEHURST, N.C. – Finishing atop the leaderboard at the North & South Women’s Amateur is becoming a habit for Kristen Gillman.

After 36 holes of stroke play, the defending champion sat at 2-over-par, good enough to earn a different Putter Boy trophy and the top seed for the match play portion of the 115th edition of the event at Pinehurst No. 2.

Gillman, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, a University of Alabama standout and resident of Austin, Texas, sat two strokes off the lead after Monday’s opening round on the 6,332-yard layout. But on Tuesday, she was the lone player in the 89-golfer field to shoot even-par 71 and finished two shots better than Jaclyn Lee and Yujeong Son.

Sitting 3 over through her first eight holes, Gillman made three birdies – on the par-4 11th and 13th and the par-5 16th – over her last eight.  Her steady play – a tournament-best 26 pars with nothing worse than bogey – put Gillman atop the 32-golfer match play field.

Gillman won the big Putter Boy trophy in 2016.

“Actually I didn’t hit it that good. I was just making putts and that kind of saved me today,” said Gillman, who is the 22nd-ranked women’s amateur in the world. “It’s definitely nice being up there on the leaderboard, but starting match play is just kind of like a whole new tournament.”

Lee followed Monday’s 3-over 74 with a plus-one 72 Tuesday and played the final nine holes at even par. She made 24 pars over 36 holes with four birdies and only eight bogeys to finish at 4 over through two days of high humidity and temperatures in the 90s.

“I was dropping some putts today,” said Lee, a resident of Calgary, Alberta, who competes at Ohio State. “My ball striking was not as good as yesterday, it was kind of average. But making sure you hit it in the right places; that’s most important.”

Son (71-75—146) shared the opening round lead, but a double-bogey on the 18th Tuesday dropped her into a tie for second place.  Bethany Wu (74-74—148), Jackie Chulya (73-75—148) and last week’s North & South Girls Junior champ Aneka Seumanutafa (72-76—78) finished stroke play in a tie for fourth.

Click to Enlarge

The oldest competitor in the field, 55-year-old Martha Leach of Hebron, Kentucky, also qualified for match play after finishing in a tie for 10th at 8-over 150 (76-74).  Competing in her 28th North & South event, the Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame member was even through her first five holes before she aced the par-3 6th.

“It was my first competitive hole-in-one, and I’ve been competing for 42 years,” said Leach. “That’s a long time, and it was on a booger of a hole. I hit a 4-hybrid in and was 178 to the hole.  I hit a good shot, wanted to land it about 170, and I just saw it roll, and I hoped it’s still on the green – you just don’t know till you get up there.”

A member of the host family of Leach’s playing partner Heather Ciskowski indicated that the ball was in the cup, confirming Leach’s third career ace, but first in tournament play.

“I just like coming to the Village of Pinehurst,” said Leach.  “It’s just the atmosphere. People here love golf, people want to play golf, and people want to play No. 2.  It’s a truly unbelievable bonus to make it into match play. I’m not playing a whole lot of golf because I’m in real estate and work obligations I have.”

According to Gillman, match play strategy on the historic Donald Ross design is similar to stroke play.

“It doesn’t really matter what seed you are, you just have to beat the person you’re playing against,” said the defending champ.  “You have to hit a lot of fairways and greens. These aren’t easy holes and par is good on most.”

Sixteen matches are set for Wednesday morning, followed by the afternoon round of 16. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played Thursday with the final scheduled for Friday.

The Women’s North & South Amateur is the longest consecutively running amateur championship in the United States. North & South champions are among the legends of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk Bell, Hollis Stacey as well as Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.

As much as the North & South is a championship with a great past, it also continues to foster a great legacy. Ten of the last 13 Amateur champions have joined the LPGA Tour, four of whom have won major championships – Pressel, Tseng and Lang, who won the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open. 2011 Women’s North & South Champion Danielle Kang won her first major championship recently at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

The Women’s North & South has drawn the top amateur women from around the country and is the longest consecutively running women’s amateur championship in the country. Its first championship was played in 1903.

 

Leave a comment

Trio of youngsters lead after first round of 115th Women’s North & South Amateur

Cary’s Jennifer Chang shares the lead after the first round of the 115th Women’s North & South Amateur.

Scores

Tee Times

By Stan Cole

PINEHURST, N.C. – In a field full of top collegiate talent, two of the younger players finished Monday’s opening round in a 3-way tie atop the leaderboard in the 115th North & South Women’s Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2.

Jennifer Chang of Cary and Yujeong Son of Norman, Okla., finished at even-par 71 along with Valerie Tanguay of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec.  Aneka Seumanutafa of Emmitsburg, Md., who won last week’s North & South Junior Girls Championship, is in fourth place at one-over-par 72.

The top 32 players in the 90-golfer field after Tuesday’s second round will advance to the match play portion of the event.

Playing in hot and muggy conditions on the historic Donald Ross design that stretched to 6,332 yards, no one in the field finished in red numbers Monday.

Defending Women’s North & South Champion Kristen Gillman enjoyed a solid round returning to Pinehurst No. 2 on Monday.

Defending champion Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, is one of seven players in a tie for fifth place at 2-over-par 73.  Thirty-six individuals finished the day at 6 over or better on a day that produced nearly five times as many bogeys (504) than birdies (115).

A semifinalist in the 2016 North & South, Chang was the first player to sign for an even-par round on the day.  Her approach on the par-4 18th hit the flag stick to leave her 20 feet, which she two-putted for par.

“I only made a few errors, those three bogeys, but I came back with three birdies and overall I was really happy with my round,” said Chang, who has verbally committed to play at Southern Cal.  “You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself because at No. 2; you never know what can happen. You can go from making birdie to making triple (bogey) at any time.”

Son, who is just 16, but has won the last three Oklahoma State Women’s Amateur Championships, was in shape to hold the lead before a double-bogey on her final hole of the day, the par-3 9th.  Starting from the 10th tee, she made eagle when she holed out from 128 yards on the par-4 13th, and stood at 3-under through 14 holes before making bogey on the par-3 6th.

“Honestly, it was good, but it wasn’t great. I had some mistakes, but covered up with long birdie putts,” said Son, who had four birdies and the eagle.  “You have to keep it in play, and not mess up too much on the putting because the greens are really hard out here.”

Tanguay, who plays collegiately at Oklahoma, also started from the 10th tee, and was 2 over through six, but birdied the par-5 16th.  She played bogey-free golf over her final 12 holes – mixing in a birdie on the par-4 7th, to finish even.

“My irons were solid. My driver was not, but even if I was in the bunker, I was able to manage it, bring it on the greens and make two-putts,” said Tanguay. “You have to be really patient, not to get frustrated if you make a bad shot.”

Aneka Seumanutafa won the Girls’ Junior North & South last week and is contending again this week.

Seumanutafa was 3 over through her first six holes, but made four birdies over the next five holes and finished her round at 1 over.

“I struggled the first three holes, but brought it back,” said the 2016 Maryland Junior Girls Amateur champ. “Winning the Junior North & South actually boosted my confidence coming into this week. I shot low here last week, so I know I can compete with all these college girls out here.”

One year after winning the 2016 North & South, Gillman was even through 10 holes Monday, but did not let three bogeys in a four-hole span spoil the day. She birdied the 478-yard 16th to finish at 2 over.

“It’s definitely really cool to be the defending champion, but I didn’t feel any extra pressure out there,” said Gillman, who plays at Alabama and won the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur.  “Today I made a lot of pars. I had the three bogeys and one birdie, but it was pretty steady. I hit most of my greens, kept it in the right places and had a lot of easy par putts.”

The Women’s North & South Amateur is the longest consecutively running amateur championship in the United States. North & South champions are among the legends of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk Bell, Hollis Stacey as well as Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.

As much as the North & South is a championship with a great past, it also continues to foster a great legacy. Ten of the last 13 Amateur champions have joined the LPGA Tour, four of whom have won major championships – Pressel, Tseng and Lang, who won the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open. 2011 Women’s North & South Champion Danielle Kang won her first major championship recently at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

The Women’s North & South has drawn the top amateur women from around the country and is the longest consecutively running women’s amateur championship in the country. Its first championship was played in 1903.

Leave a comment

Gil Hanse Previews 3rd Hole of Pinehurst Short Course

Gil Hanse took a moment after hopping off his bulldozer to give us a sneak peek at the 3rd hole of the new Pinehurst Short Course, which is scheduled to open in early October. 

Hanse took us through a few of the fun architectural aspects of the hole, which features an uphill tee shot – that, Hanse said, could be played with a wedge or a putter – and into a punchbowl green for an interesting twist on Donald Ross’ famed turtleback greens.

There’s a dramatic bunker fronting the green, and the view is spectacular. Also, Hanse reveals that he’s built a level area behind the green where he hopes galleries will form and root for aces.

For a fuller look at how the Short Course is coming together, watch below:

Leave a comment

This Pinehurst Short Course photo is stunning (Yes, you have to click to see it)

Jaegar Kovich has been a key player in building the Pinehurst Short Course, and if you aren’t following his Instagram feed, you MUST. START. NOW.

This photo is one of the best we’ve seen during the process of the Short Course coming to life.

The 360 degree views on the Pinehurst Par3 Course are gonna be pretty sweet. #cavemenwerehere #propergolf

A post shared by Jaeger Kovich (@propergolf) on

Also, a bit of news – the greens were sprigged with bermudagrass this afternoon.

We open in early October. Have your wedges ready.

Leave a comment

Live from the Pinehurst Short Course, it’s Gil Hanse

OK, so maybe not quite live, but just this week Gil Hanse literally hopped off the bulldozer he’s been using the shape the new front yard of Pinehurst Resort to call in to Callaway Golf’s Pirate Ship Show podcast, where (beginning at 5:38) he lets the audience in on a few new notes regarding the Pinehurst Short Course and the expansion of the putting course, Thistle Dhu, he and his team are building. Click above to take a listen.

Leave a comment