The Women’s North and South Amateur Championships drew the top amateur women’s golfers from around the country to compete. Big names in women’s golf such as Beth Bauer, Morgan Pressel and Peggy Kirk Bell have all participated in the tournament in their collegiate careers. More names were added to the list, as four Gators participated in this year's 120th championships at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina, from July 12-16.
Freshman Karoline Tuttle had an impressive round one performance as redshirt sophomore Taylor Roberts, junior Maisie Filler and senior Jackie Lucena battled to stay in competition on day one. However, it would be Lucena who would qualify for a 32 round playoff match as the others struggled to match par.
The UF representatives made their way to the legendary No.2 and the recently redesigned No.4 golf courses in Pinehurst, the same legendary courses that have served as the sites for golf championships such as the U.S. Amatuer, U.S. Open and the PGA Tour Championship.
Lucena and Roberts were first to test the greens to start the tournament on the No.2 course under the North Carolina sun Tuesday.
Lucena started with good pace in the front nine, going 1-above par to start, but got back-to-back bogeys on holes 12 and 13 which brought her score to 2-above par on 74 strokes. Roberts, mirroring Lucena’s front nine, went 1-above par as well. However, the Parkland, Florida, native struggled on the back nine, suffering a double bogey on hole 11 and bogeys on holes 12 and 18. She finished round one 3-above par.
Filler and Tuttle started day one on course No.4, a more simpler course compared to No.2 with stunning greens to tee and many timeless Carolina sandhills. Filler had three bogeys and a double bogey mid-way through the course, but finished strong with birdies in holes 17 and 18 to finish the day 3-above par. For Tuttle, she performed incredibly well as she finished the course even par, balancing out three bogeys with three birdies.
Filler and Tuttle flipped to course No.2 in round two, as Lucena and Roberts did the same to No.4. This was the last opportunity to qualify for the top 32 spots for the playoff bracket.
Despite Tuttle being successful in round one, she struggled in round two as the No.2 courses crowned greens became too much to control. After a bogey on hole two, eight more followed until a birdie on hole 18 stopped the bleeding. The freshman finished the course 8-over par, pushing her away from qualifying.
Course No.4 seemed to have a seesaw affair on Roberts’ scorecard. Only two holes finished at par, as Roberts grabbed four birdies and three bogies through the front nine. Two more bogeys would be added on for her day in holes 11 and 12 to end her week.
Filler, who struggled in round one, fared better in round two on the new greens on course No.2. She finished the course within 71 strokes and scored one-under par, better than any other Gator in the tournament. Despite her round two play boosting her up to tie with the 32 spot, she was outside of the range of players to qualify for the bracket.
Lucena was the only one out of the four to qualify for the playoff bracket in the Round of 32 after finishing course No.4 with 70 strokes, scoring 2-under par. She placed in the middle of the pack at 18 as she finished both courses with 144 strokes, even to par.
The Chico, California, native faced off against South Florida sophomore Melanie Green in the first round Thursday.
Green went up early over Lucena, earning a birdie in hole one as Lucena started the front nine losing the first three holes with two straight bogeys on holes two and three. After the first nine holes, Lucena was down four as she ended the ninth hole with a double bogey. With nine more holes to play, Lucena still had a chance to dig herself out of the hole she had made.
She won five holes out of the first six to tie up with Green immediately in the back nine. With both golfers tying through holes 16 and 17, hole 18 was the deciding factor and Lucena scored a bogey for the hole, losing to Green.
Florida’s week at Pinehurst came up short, but not without showing up deep in the tournament.
Brandon Hernandez is a student at the University of Florida studying journalism. He is a writer for The Alligator, Gator Country and for PlugTalkSports. You can find most of his work on his Twitter (BranH2001) and on his podcast, “The Courtside Podcast,” on Spotify.