U.S. Women’s Amateur
If you go
WHERE: Country Club of Charleston
TODAY’S SCHEDULE: First 18 holes begin at 8 a.m., second 18 at 1 p.m.
PARKING: No parking at the Country Club. Public parking is available at the vacant space located at Folly Road and Albemarle Road, with shuttles running every 15 minutes from 5:15 a.m. until 9 p.m.
TV: The Golf Channel (4-6 p.m.)
Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., and Yueer Cindy Feng of China will face off Sunday at the Country Club of Charleston for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. The scheduled 36-hole match will begin at 8 a.m., with a break following the first 18 holes. The second 18 is tentatively scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Talley, 19, had to stave off a valiant comeback by Alison Lee for a 1-up victory. Feng, who came to the U.S. when she was 9 and now lives in Orlando, Fla., never trailed in beating 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Doris Chen by a 3 and 2 margin.
Talley, a rising sophomore at the University of Alabama, got off to a great start and won the second through fifth holes to take a 4-up lead. The run was interrupted after the second hole when Lee developed a nosebleed, an incident that delayed play for approximately 15 minutes.
Lee rallied and won the seventh and eight holes to halve the deficit but Talley responded with a birdie on the ninth for a 3-up advantage at the turn. Lee would not fold and won 14, 15 and 16 to square the match. Lee three-putted the 17th to give Talley a 1-up advantage going to the home hole.
Lee and Talley both hit the fairway and left their second shots short of the green on the 426-yard 18th. Talley chipped to a foot and Lee conceded the putt, knowing she would have to chip in to extend the match. Lee’s chip came up short and Talley was off to the final.
“Even when I was 4-up I knew it wasn’t over,” Talley said. “She’s a great player and you never know what’s going to happen. I played well. My putter’s hot right now. I guess that’s what has to happen to get in the finals. No matter what happens tomorrow I’m really excited. It’s been a great experience so far.”
Talley said after she hit her tee shot on 18 she turned to her father, who was caddying for her and told him she thought she was going to be sick. Her father calmed her down, telling her they needed to sing the song (Cruise, by Florida Georgia Line) they were singing during Friday’s 19 hole victory over Su-Hyun Oh, the world’s No. 2-ranked amateur.
“Dad has been there for me all week,” Talley said. “He hasn’t helped me with my golf game as much as staying calm and collected, realizing how blessed I am to be here.”
Feng, 17, will go to the first stage of the LPGA qualifying tournament later this month. She said her win over Chen was a “grind-it out match.”
“We both didn’t play well,” said Feng, who has back-to-back wins over members of Southern Cal’s national championship team, Annie Park and Chen.
“If you look at our scorecards, we were both probably a couple over par. I won mostly with pars. I was scrambling and making par putts.”
Feng won the first two holes with pars. Chen won the fourth but Feng regained her 2-up advantage with a par on No. 6. Chen won the ninth to make the turn 1-down but Feng birdied the 10th and won the 11th for a 3-up lead she never relinquished.
Chen said she did her best but didn’t perform.
“My tempo was just a little off,” Chen said. “I got my game back probably after the 12th hole but it was too late.”
Feng, who went to The Golf Channel booth immediately after the match and then dashed off to eat Chinese food for lunch before returning to the course, said she learned the importance of the short game and putting earlier this year and planned to work on that in anticipation of Sunday’s championship.
“I have no expectations,” Feng said. “One shot at a time. You have good days and bad days. Just one shot at a time and grind it out.”