By Alex Podlogar
Photos by John Patota and Melissa Schaub
Editor’s Note: The championship match of the 118th Women’s North & South Amateur will begin on Pinehurst No. 2 at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday. The public is welcome to follow the match.
PINEHURST, N.C. – No player was more ready for the 118th Women’s North & South Amateur than Haylin Harris.
She got started about 11 months ago.
Harris (pictured above), a rising junior at Michigan State, got a taste of the best the 117th edition of the North & South had to offer at the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur, where she faced both finalists of the North & South in a span of 48 hours.
Harris beat one of them – she edged North & South Runner-Up Doey Choi 1-up in the Round of 64 match play at Old Waverly Golf Club in Mississippi – before falling in the Round of 32 to eventual Amateur champion and defending North & South Champion Gabi Ruffels the very next day.
“It’s pretty crazy that happened,” Harris said.
She’s kept the momentum going into 2020, taking down another elite player on the way when she dispatched Wake Forest’s Emilia Migliaccio 4&3 on Friday to reach the North & South semifinals.
Harris never trailed in the match against the championship’s top-ranked player, again proving her ability to match the level of play at one of the nation’s most historic amateur tournaments.
“It’s Pinehurst No. 2, and in match play on a course this tough, anybody can beat anyone,” Harris said. “You have to stay on top of what you are doing and try not to give away too many shots back to the course – because it’s going to take some.”
Southern Cal’s Allisen Corpuz was the medalist of last year’s North & South Amateur. Her run, though, came to an end in the quarterfinals when she fell to Migliaccio.
History appeared to be repeating itself, this time against 2016 Girls North & South Junior Champion and Notre Dame golfer Lauren Beaudreau.
Using her deft touch and past experience at Pinehurst, Beaudreau built a 3-up lead over Corpuz through seven holes. And even as Corpuz made a charge by winning the 8th and 9th holes, Beaudreau’s game held together well.
But Corpuz found some magic.
After a birdie on the par-4 12th evened the match, Corpuz found herself long of the green on 14. Facing a slick downhill chip, Corpuz was mostly hoping just to get the speed right.
“At that point, you’re just looking to make a par,” Corpuz said.
She made it.
That gave Corpuz a lead she wouldn’t relinquish, one that she built after making a dramatic eagle on 16 to advance a round further than a year ago.
“In match play, anything can happen,” Corpuz said. “Everyone’s so good now.”
The 2020 Women’s North & South Amateur Medalist just keeps cruising along.
Bidding to become the first North & South medalist to go on to win the championship in several years, Clemson’s Ivy Shepherd first knocked off Duke star Gina Kim in the Round of 16 before never trailing in a 4&3 quarterfinal win over Megan Schofill.
“This has been pretty fun,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd was 3-up through just five holes, building a 4-up lead at the turn before Schofill battled back to win 11 and 12.
But Shepherd regained control with a birdie on 13 and then drained another birdie on 15 moments after Schofill made a 30-foot putt to save par in hopes of extending the match.
Rachel Kuehn pumped her fist toward the hole, smiled broadly and in a voice just loud enough for the gallery watching from the clubhouse veranda behind the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 to hear, told her caddie Keith Silva, “Let’s play a couple more!”
Two-down with just four holes to play against Stanford recruit and No. 2 seed Rachel Heck, Kuehn stood on the 15th tee needing to make something happen.
She nearly made an ace.
That birdie got the Wake Forest sophomore within one, but after Heck made a two-putt birdie on 16, Kuehn faced a tough 15-footer after blasting out of the left bunker.
There was no doubt. She made that, too.
Still 1-down in the fairway on 18, Kuehn again needed to pull off something big.
She did, making birdie to extend the match. Hence, the pumped fist and gleeful reaction.
Two holes later, Kuehn made a tense 4-footer to close out Heck and advance to the semifinals after one of the most clutch performances of the championship.
“It definitely comes from experience,” Kuehn said of her performance of the last six holes of the match. “There have been multiple experiences where I’ve been in the exact same situation and come nowhere near where I was able to come today. I’m glad I was finally able to buckle down and pull out a couple clutch putts and couple clutch shots when I really needed them. It’s something I can carry moving forward because…well, because it’s good memories.”
Women’s North & South champions are among the legends of the game and include 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. Eleven of the last 17 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 in 2017 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.
118th Women’s North & South Amateur
July 14-18, 2020
Pinehurst No. 2
Round of 32
Thursday, July 16
No. 1 Ivy Shepherd d. No. 32 Annika Borrelli, 2&1
No. 16 Gina Kim d. No. 17 Allysha Mae Mateo, 3&2
No. 25 Megan Schofill d. No. 8 Christine Wang, 1up
No. 24 Blair Stockett d. No. 9 Mikayla Bardwell, 2&1
No. 29 Lauren Beaudreau d. No. 4 Megan Furtney, 3&2
No. 13 Aneka Seumanutafa d. No. 20 Madison Moose, 1up
No. 28 Marissa Wenzler d. No. 5 Therese Warner, 6&5
No. 12 Allisen Corpuz d. No. 21 Louise Yu, 1up
No. 2 Rachel Heck d. No. 31 Casey Weidenfeld, 2&1
No. 18 Emily Mahar d. No. 15 Michaela Morard, 3&2
No. 26 Rebecca DiNunzio d. No. 7 Megha Ganne, 2up
No. 10 Rachel Kuehn d. No. 23 Bentley Cotton, 2up
No. 30 Lauren Hartlage d. No. 3 Sadie Englemann, 3&1
No. 14 Emilia Migliaccio d. No. 19 Lei Ye, 3&2
No. 6 Haylin Harris d. No. 27 Alice Hodge, 4&2
No. 11 Pilar Echeverria d. No. Amari Avery, 4&3
Round of 16
Friday, July 17
No. 1 Ivy Shepherd d. No. 16 Gina Kim, 1up
No. 25 Megan Schofill d. No. 24 Blair Stockett, 19 Holes
No. 29 Lauren Beaudreau d. No. 13 Aneka Seumanutafa, 8&6
No. 12 Allisen Corpuz d. No. 28 Marissa Wenzler, 5&4
No. 2 Rachel Heck d. No. 18 Emily Mahar, 1up
No. 10 Rachel Kuehn d. No. 26 Rebecca DiNunzio, 4&3
No. 14 Emilia Migliaccio d. No. 30 Lauren Hartlage, 3&1
No. 6 Haylin Harris d. No. 11 Pilar Echeverria, 3&2
Friday, July 17
No. 1 Ivy Shepherd d. No. 25 Megan Schofill, 4&3
No. 12 Allisen Corpuz d. No. 29 Lauren Beaudreau, 1up
No. 10 Rachel Kuehn d. No. 2 Rachel Heck, 20 Holes
No. 6 Haylin Harris d. No. 14 Emilia Migliaccio, 4&3
Saturday, July 18
No. 1 Ivy Shepherd vs. No. 12 Allisen Corpuz, 7 a.m.
No. 10 Rachel Kuehn vs. No. 6 Haylin Harris, 7:10 a.m.
Saturday, July 18
TBD, 12:45 p.m.
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