June 19, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma women's golf team had two of its members advance to the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship (WAPL) match play round of 32 on Wednesday, and nearly had a third.
Rising seniors Chirapat Jao-Javanil and Anne-Catherine Tanguay won their matches to stay alive in the USGA national championship event at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman. Jao-Javanil beat Madison Opfer of Plant City, Fla., 1 up, while Tanguay defeated Chonlada Chayanun of Thailand, 2 and 1.
OU's Taylor Schmidt, who completed her eligibility in May at the NCAA Championships, lost in a playoff to Grace Na of Alameda, Calif. Na, who attends Pepperdine and is ranked ninth nationally among collegiate players, birdied the first playoff hole to move on to Thursday play.
Jao-Javanil, ranked 12th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, trailed Opfer by a hole through 14 Wednesday before winning the next two holes to go 1 up. She parred the 17th and 18th holes to hang on for the win. Jao-Javanil and Opfer, who plays at Tulane, were paired up for two rounds at the NCAA Championships last month.
"Definitely it's an advantage," said Jao-Javanil of playing this week on a course with which she's extremely familiar. "But at the same time you've got to make sure you don't let it get to your head that this is your home course and then try to do something extraordinary. Just try to play your game and usually you'll end up doing fine."
Tanguay never trailed in her match, but never led by more than two holes. She was 2 up after nine holes but then found herself all square after 12. Birdies on 13 and 14 put her back up by two holes and that's how the match ended after 17 holes.
"Nothing was going my way the first half of the match, and I got some bad breaks. Some bad bounces, putts lipping out and stuff like that." said Tanguay. "But I didn't get mad. I just got fired up and I was like 'I'm going to go get this.' I just made it happen."
Schmidt and Na were locked in a tight battle all day. Schmidt won the first two holes, but Na countered by winning the next two. From there, neither led by more than one hole the rest of the day. Schmidt birdied 18 to force the playoff, but Na stuck her approach shot a couple feet from the pin on No. 1 and made her birdie putt to register the victory.
"It was a great tournament," commented Schmidt, whose caddie this week was OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell. "The course is in perfect shape and the staff did an unbelievable job. It's so fun to play out here. I really wanted to keep winning my matches and see how far I can get, but you can't really be too disappointed when you're trailing and you come back. I'll be out here supporting my teammates tomorrow. If I can't win I want them to."
Jao-Javanil will go against Robynn Ree of Redondo Beach, Calif., Thursday starting at 7:40 a.m., while Tanguay will face Chaewon Park of San Pedro, Calif., beginning at 9:10 a.m.
The winners of Thursday's morning matches will advance to play in the round-of-16 matches Thursday afternoon. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held Friday, and the finals will be determined over 36 holes on Saturday.
The U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links began in 1977 as a national championship for women who play the nation's public courses. The WAPL is open to female amateur golfers who, since Jan. 1, 2013, have been bona fide public course players and have not held privileges of any course that does not extend playing privileges to the general public.
The tournament is open to the public and there is no admission charge.