June 25, 2010
Norman, Okla. – Oklahoma golfer Ellen Mueller’s deep run in the Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship came to an end in her Friday afternoon semifinals match as she fell 3 and 2 to Lisa McCloskey in match play at Notre Dame’s 6,029-yard par-71 Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind.
Mueller, the No. 26 seed, advanced to the event's "final four" after besting No. 2 seed Martina Gavier in a come-from-behind 2-and-1 win Friday morning.
“Ellen played well all week against some of the best players in the country,” said OU head coach Veronique Drouin of the senior-to-be's 4-1 match play record. “Doing well in a USGA championship will be a great boost to her confidence for the rest of the summer, and that confidence will hopefully transition into our fall season.”
Mueller began the day with an early morning start against Gavier, who attends Kent State.
Mueller and Gavier were all square through the first three holes before Gavier birdied the par-3 fourth hole to go 1-up. It marked the first time in Mueller's four matches up to that point that she trailed.
Five holes later, a second birdie propelled Gavier to a 2-up advantage halfway through the round.
But as the players made the turn, Mueller’s fortunes turned as well.
Mueller took advantage of Gavier’s bogey on hole No. 11 to cut the Argentina native's lead to 1-up.
Two holes later, Mueller parred while Gavier recorded her second bogey of the day. After trailing for nine straight holes, Mueller found herself all square with her opponent with five holes remaining.
Mueller continued to play consistent golf, parring holes 14 and 15. A Gavier bogey on 15 gave Mueller her first lead of the match. Mueller’s victory was sealed when she drained a 15-foot birdie putt on hole No. 17.
“I felt confident all day, even though I trailed early on,” said Mueller. “On the front nine I couldn’t get my putts to fall and just kept making pars. During the back nine, Martina made a couple of mistakes and I was able to capitalize on them.”
About an hour after finishing her morning match, Mueller hit the course again, this time to face the No. 35 seed, Pepperdine’s McCloskey.
Mueller jumped to an early 1-up lead after her birdie on the second hole. A bogey by Mueller on the third hole quickly brought the golfers back to all square.
The deadlock wouldn’t last long, with another bogey by Mueller on the fifth hole giving McCloskey a lead she did not relinquish.
Despite falling short in the end, Mueller felt confident about her performance in the Public Links Championship.
“I gave the tournament a good run. At this level, bogeys lose and birdies win. I just had too many bogeys and not enough birdies today.”
The Public Links Championship started with 155 golfers playing two rounds of stroke play. The top 64 finishers advanced to a six-round match play tournament that started Wednesday.
Mueller finished in a tie for 27th place after 36 holes of stroke play, shooting a 70 (-1) Monday and a 76 (+5) Tuesday. She defeated No. 37 seed Suzie Lee in the opening round of match play on the 18th hole and followed with Thursday wins over No. 7 seed Nicole Zhang (2 and 1) and No. 23 seed Joy Trotter (3 and 2).
The Public Links Championship is one of multiple tournaments in which Mueller is participating this summer to prepare for her final season as a Sooner. She is coming off of a record season, producing the lowest season stroke average (74.41) in school history. Mueller also competed individually in the 2010 NCAA Championships in Wilmington, N.C., and was named to the All-Big 12 Team.
Mueller hopes to keep up her strong play throughout the summer.
“Summer tournaments allow me to stay at the top of my game. You can practice all you want, but playing in tournaments is a completely different feel.”