June 24, 2010
Norman, Okla. – University of Oklahoma golfer Ellen Mueller advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship Thursday by defeating No. 23 seed Joy Trotter 3 and 2 in match play at Notre Dame’s 6,029-yard par-71 Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind.
Through three rounds of match play, Mueller has yet to trail an opponent.
“I am striking the ball well and making lots of putts,” Mueller said after her Thursday afternoon match. “I love match play format. It brings a whole new strategy into the game.”
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.
Mueller finished in a tie for 27th place after 36 holes of stroke play, shooting a 70 (-1) Monday and a 76 (+5) Tuesday.
Match play began with the round of 64 Wednesday when Mueller faced 37th seed Suzie Lee of Long Island, N.Y. Mueller finished 1-up on Lee in a match where Mueller was 2-up or better on only two holes. Mueller clinched the match with a 15-foot putt on the par-4 18th to avoid extra holes.
Mueller continued match play Thursday morning against No. 7 seed Nicole Zhang of Canada. Mueller, who was 2-up for a majority of the match, had little problem taking care of Zhang, beating her 2 and 1.
OU’s senior-to-be took to the course again Thursday afternoon to face No. 23 seed Joy Trotter of Chino Hills, Calif., in the round of 16.
The pair began the match with pars on the first and second holes. Mueller’s birdie on the third hole gave her the lead, one she would never lose.
Mueller will tee off in Friday’s quarterfinals match against second-seeded Martina Gavier at 6:50 a.m. CT. Gavier, a native of Argentina, advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Caroline Powers in 20 holes of play.
OU head coach Veronique Drouin explained the nature of match play and what makes it different from the more common stroke play format.
“The golfer’s mindset changes in match play because you are now playing your opponent instead of trying to beat the golf course,” said Drouin. “You’re always expecting the opponent to do the unexpected. It’s very easy to get caught up in the opponent’s game instead of attacking the golf course in a fashion you normally would.”
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, recording 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 2010 All-Big 12 Team.
Live stats of the Public Links Championship can be found at USGA.org.