Women’s Scoring

By Alex Podlogar

Like any other college student, Catie Craig picks up some work when she can to make a little money.

It’s just that her job might’ve helped her win the 122nd North & South Women’s Amateur.

It’s not just her job – “I work golf course maintenance back home,” she says – it’s her academic major at Western Kentucky that also had a hand in what happened this week.

“I’m a Horticulture and Soil Agronomy major,” she says. “I’m planning to be a golf course architect one day. It’s my passion.”

In two North & South Amateurs, the 2023 Conference USA Champion has reached match play on Donald Ross’s masterpiece, Pinehurst No. 2, both times. Quite the field trip for school.

“Playing this course, the more you play it, the more you see,” she says. “Noticing there’s plateaus everywhere. Into the green there’s the ground game, and it slowly dips off into the traps and little gulleys. To see all that and be aware. You have to hit boxes even though the greens are huge. It’s very unique. I love the architecture out here. The way the traps melt into the native grass, gosh, it’s seamless. It’s perfect.”

While some may feel the soul of American golf and spirit of the game when they visit Pinehurst, Craig sees something else.

Belief. Maybe not in the result, but in herself? She’s starting to get there.

“I see the slopes and understand them,” she says. “It definitely helps me know where you want to miss – and not to miss.”

It certainly worked for Alice Dye, the 1968 North & South Women’s Amateur Champion.

Craig didn’t miss much on Saturday. Playing the top seed and Wake Forest young star Macy Pate, Craig won the first four holes in the championship match and held firmly to her lead to prevail 4&3 on No. 2 to win the coveted Putter Boy trophy, denying Pate a chance to become the first player to win the North & South Girls Junior and the North & South Women’s Amateur in consecutive years since May Wood in 2001 and 2002.

“I’m still in disbelief. It will probably hit later tonight,” Craig said.

“All the rich history here, this Donald Ross design, and to be able to play such an iconic course and win in the same year of the U.S. Open – that’s really cool. And the first time the men and women playing in the same week, it’s a very unique year to win.”

Catie Craig tees off during Saturday's North & South final.
Catie Craig tees off during Saturday's North & South final.

It’s not that Craig doesn’t have the game. Oh man, does she have the game. In the 2023-24 season at Western Kentucky, Craig won twice, finished second once, third four times and fourth twice. Her lowest regular season finished was ninth – in the first tournament of the year.

Pate managed to win the 6th and 8th holes, using a slick up-and-down from the right side of the green to trim the deficit to two holes. But the steadfast Craig used steady pars at 10 and 11 to build her lead back to 4-up. Four straight pars from there, and the match was over.

Craig could credit Mr. Ross for some of that. At least, for what she’s learned now in her time here.

“Some of the trickery he’s designed out there, stuff that’s really an illusion,” Craig explains. “To learn – don’t go for it.”

It’s a lesson that works well on No. 2, so well that it can result in winning one the most prestigious amateur championships in the world. Craig can now add her name to a list that includes Peggy Kirk Bell, Babe Zaharias, Yani Tseng, Morgan Pressel, Danielle Kang and many of the founders of the LPGA Tour.

“Confidence in myself to know I’m good enough,” Craig said about what else she learned this week. “I’ve never thought that before. To accomplish something this big is really cool.”


Pinehurst No. 2


Round of 32

No. 1 Macy Pate d. No. 32 Lauren Gomez, 19 holes

No. 16 Avery Weed d. No. 17 Kaitlyn Schroeder, 2&1

No. 8 Mackenzie Lee d. No. 25 Amelie Zalsman, 3&2

No. 24 Jeneath Wong d. No. 9 Adrian Anderson, 19 holes

No. 29 Kayla Smith d. No. 4 Mia Sessa, 5&4

No. 13 Brooke Biermann d. No. 20 Chloe Johnson, 4&3

No. 5 Kylee Choi d. No. 28 Regina Plascencia, 5&4

No. 12 Yingzhi Zhu d. No. 21 Sophie Linder, 2&1

No. 2 Elizabeth Rudisill d. No. No. 31 Anika Varma, 1up

No. 15 Lynn Lim d. No. 18 Avery McCrery, 3&2

No. 7 Molly Smith d. No. 26 Alexa Saldena, 2&1

No. 10 Andie Smith d. No. 23 Kynadie Adams, 5&4

No. 3 Catie Craig d. No. 30 Hannah Reeves, 1up

No. 19 Alice Hodge d. No. 14 Scarlett Schremmer, 1up

No. 6 Emma Schimpf d. No. 27 Cecilia Jia, 4&2

No. 22 Megan Streicher d. No. 11 Katie Lu, 5&4


Round of 16

No. 1 Macy Pate d. No. 16 Avery Weed, 5&4

No. 8 Mackenzie Lee d. No. 24 Jeneath Wong, 1up

No. 13 Brooke Biermann d. No. 29 Kayla Smith, 5&4

No. 5 Kylee Choi d. No. 12 Yingzhi Zhu, 4&3

No. 15 Lynn Lim d. No. 2 Elizabeth Rudisill, 2&1

No. 10 Andie Smith d. No. 7 Molly Smith, 2&1

No. 3 Catie Craig d. No. 19 Alice Hodge, 4&3

No. 22 Megan Streicher d. No. 6 Emma Schimpf 6&4



No. 1 Macy Pate d. No. 8 Mackenzie Lee, 1up

No. 5 Kylee Choi d. No. 13 Brooke Biermann, 1up

No. 15 Lynn Lim d. No. 10 Andie Smith, 3&2

No. 3 Catie Craig d No. 22 Megan Streicher, 2&1


Semifinals (AM)

No. 1 Macy Pate d. No. 5 Kylee Choi, 1up

No. 3 Catie Craig d. No. 15 Lynn Lim, 5&3

Championship match

No. 3 Catie Craig d. No. 1 Macy Pate, 4&3