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Friday, December 30, 2016

Highlights from a year of golf for this blogger



   I wasn’t really sure what to expect in 2016. The only thing I knew for sure was that by the end of the first week of the new year, I was going to be out of a job, a pink slip my reward for 20 years of service at the Delaware County Daily Times.
   It was sort of like getting thrown off a sinking ship, the newspaper business being what it is these days. But I did have a modest severance and a desire to keep up this golf blog, T Mac Tees Off, which I started in 2011 at the Daily Times.
   I also knew there were some big events coming to the area in 2016, the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s historic Wissahickon Course, the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club and the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall.
That's me on the left with Michael Mitani of Irvine, Calif. during a practice round for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall's North Course.
   As the employment rejections piled up in my email in-box, I kept finding things to put on the blog, mostly college golf. It was pointless for me to become a regular commentator on the PGA Tour or try to figure out when Tiger Woods was going to return to competitive golf. There’s plenty of really good writers in newspapers, magazines and online doing that stuff.
   I wanted my blog to focus on local stuff, which increasingly does not appear in a lot of media outlets. My first forays into college golf really began with Philadelphia area kids like the Penn State pair of Jackie Rogowicz and Cara Basso, Erica Herr at Wake Forest, Cole Berman at Georgetown and Brandon Matthews at Temple. They were all players I had come across while covering scholastic golf at the Daily Times or, in the case of Matthews, at Golf Association of Philadelphia events, Matthews having won the Philadelphia Open in 2013 and 2015.
   I ended up concentrating more on the women’s college golf scene, partly because there were more local kids playing at Division I schools, but mostly with an eye toward some of the players I figured were going to be headed for Rolling Green, the underrated William Flynn gem in Springfield, Delaware County, for the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
   There was one other aspect to what really turned 2016 into the year of golf for me that was only in the back of my mind early in the year. In March I took a ride up to Stonewall to see if maybe they needed any loopers.
   I had caddied at Merion Golf Club for 12 years in my teens and 20s. What I thought was my last loop was the second round of the 1981 U.S. Open, an experience I chronicled in the Daily Times (it ultimately showed up in any number of publications in the area) ahead of the 2013 Open at Merion. But I was 61, so it wasn’t a sure thing that I’d still be able to lug two bags around a big-time course like Stonewall. But I wasn’t far away and Paul Mauer, the general manager at Stonewall, was a fellow Archbishop Carroll graduate and a Merion caddy colleague as well, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
   Like I said, I was aware that the Mid-Am was coming to Stonewall as well, so I figured I might gain some insight into Tom Doak’s twin courses in northwest Chester County that I might be able to work into the blog.
   One thing about caddying had not really changed since 1981. If you show up and the caddie master, in this case caddie master/assistant GM Jerry Cashman, needs somebody to carry two golf bags, he’ll send you out there. It helps if you’ve done it before.
   Between grabbing a loop here and there at Stonewall, filling up the golf blog and doing some freelance work for Joe Burkhardt’s Tri-State Golfer (pretty comprehensive history of the PGA Tour Champions in the Philadelphia area in advance of the Senior Players at the Cricket Club, if I do say so myself), I stayed pretty busy through much of 2016. 
   Most of the blog posts came from stuff I picked up off the Internet. Colleges have increasingly improved coverage of their teams on their respective sites and, combined with GolfStat, I was able to follow the college golf scene all the way through the women’s and men’s championships, hosted by Oregon at Eugene Country Club.
   I hadn’t really planned to actually go out and “cover” any golf – or in the parlance of the blogger, “live-blog” – but I did sneak down to Gulph Mills Golf Club for the Inter-Ac Tournament, an event I had been able to make several years in a row at the Daily Times, and watched Meghan Fahey capture the tournament title. She was at Notre Dame then and is at Agnes Irwin now and is the subject of a nice feature story in the Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine’s winter issue on the GAP website. I’m also a big fan of Fahey’s now teammate at Agnes Irwin, Kaitlyn Lees, who was the runnerup that day.
   And I couldn’t pass up qualifying day for GAP’s BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at my old stomping grounds at Merion’s East Course, which was hosting the event for the first time in 62 years. I caught two-time champion Michael McDermott and 2014 winner Jeff Osberg playing the testy “back five” at the East.
   At week’s end they would stage one of the more memorable finals in the 116-year history of the Philly Am with McDermott pulling out a 1-up victory as the 36-hole match went the distance.
   I spent the rest of qualifying day following Berman, the defending champion whom I had covered during an outstanding scholastic career at The Haverford School, and 2009 Philly Am champion Conrad Von Borsig, whose high school exploits at Strath Haven I had also chronicled. It was great to walk the fairways with the parents of Cole and Conrad – Cole’s dad was actually on the bag that day – and to visit another old friend, the East Course itself, which I toured at least 1,000 times in my caddying days with golfers good, bad and everywhere in between.
   The highlight of my year of golf though, was the Mid-Am at Stonewall. I had earned my stripes well enough during the summer -- learning the yardages and, more importantly, at least some of the subtleties of the greens on the Old Course – to be among the group of loopers made available to Mid-Am contestants smart enough to want a local caddy on the bag. I was hardly the best green-reader in the Stonewall caddyshack, but I’ve always felt if you can read Merion greens, you can read any greens.
   It didn’t turn into a “Cinderella Story,” for either Michael Mitani of Irvine, Calif. or his caddy. Mitani was a junior golf contemporary of that Tiger Woods fella in Southern California and burned out a little on the game as a junior player. He shot 81 on the Old Course and 80 on the North Course, which played much tougher on Day 2 as blessedly cooler temperatures and a gusty wind replaced high heat and humidity.
   But it was, just as it had been caddying for Jay Cudd at Merion in 1981, a tremendous golf experience. I’m not much of a player myself. I’ve always gotten a much bigger kick out of watching really good players play. I got that for two practice rounds and two rounds of qualifying with Mitani, not to mention our practice-round and qualifying playing partners.
   Even finishing well back in the qualifying pack, Mitani hit shots that most players can only dream about. It was the first USGA event he had ever played in, but he certainly proved to me that he belonged. I hope he proved it to himself as well.
   I turned in a caddy bib for my old-school clipboard for the match-play portion of the event and saw some tremendous golf. My focus was on the local guys and among a solid group of GAP players who reached match play was none other than McDermott, about 11 weeks removed from his epic Philly Am victory on his home course at Merion.
   McDermott is a Delco guy and the meat of his outstanding amateur career coincided with my stint as the golf guy at the Daily Times. I had sneaked down to the Llanerch Country Club, McDermott’s home track growing up, for the second of the two local Mid-Am qualifiers and saw Mike earn a spot in the field for Stonewall.
   McDermott was at his gritty best at Stonewall. I watched him edge Joseph Ida, a former Kansas State standout and a reinstated amateur, on the 20th hole in the first round. The next day, I got to Stonewall just in time to see McDermott finish off a 1-up win over Joe Alfieri, another reinstated amateur from Lutz, Fla.
   That set up an afternoon match with Derek Busby, yet another reinstated amateur from Ruston, La., for a berth in the quarterfinals. Busby was the most talented player I saw that week, just as pure a ball-striker as you’ll ever come across.
   Somehow McDermott got it to the 18th hole all square. And he won the match when Busby inexplicably shoved an 18-incher for par out of the hole.
   McDermott would lose in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Stewart Hagestad, 2-up, the next morning, but it was a tremendous run for the 41-year-old who had predicted at the qualifier at Llanerch that his knowledge of Stonewall would give him an edge in the Mid-Am.
   The week concluded with an epic match between Hagestad, a native Southern Californian who had moved to New York City for his finance job, and Scott Harvey, a North Carolinian who had won the 2014 Mid-Am at Saucon Valley Country Club.
   The first 18 holes of the scheduled 36-hole final were played on the North Course, the first time the USGA had used two courses for a 36-hole final, and Harvey took a 3-up lead to the afternoon round at the Old Course.
   Hagestad was 4-down with five holes to play, then made birdies at 15 and 17 and got a conceded birdie at the 18th that sent the match to the 37th hole, the par-3 ninth at the Old Course. When his 14-foot birdie putt found the hole for the title, it was the first time Hagestad was ahead in the match all day. It was great golf on a great golf course. It was an overdue star turn for Doak’s twin creations.
   Earlier in the summer, I spent almost the entire week at the Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green watching young ladies who I fully expect to be watching on TV playing on the LPGA Tour in the not-too-distant future.
   I again concentrated on the locals early in the week and was rewarded when Aurora Kan, whose outstanding scholastic career at Chichester I had covered in the Daily Times, made match play in one of those 9-for-5 playoffs with darkness descending on Rolling Green.
   Rogowicz, a former Pennsbury star coming off a strong freshman season at Penn State, failed to advance out of that playoff. But following her in the second round of qualifying gave me a front-row seat for a brilliant 6-under 65 by Hawaiian teen Mariel Galdiano that earned her medalist honors.
   I watched Kan fall in the first round of match play to Katelyn Dambaugh, the talented left-hander from South Carolina who was the runnerup in voting for the Annika Award. I saw Dambaugh fall to Japanese teen Nasa Nataoka in a scintillating round-of-16 match.
   I saw eventual champion Eun Jeong Seong, a 16-year-old from South Korea, outlast Californian Andrea Lee in the quarterfinals in a rematch of their U.S. Girls’ Junior final from two weeks earlier, also won by Seong.
   It was a tremendous week of golf at Rolling Green and the membership there and Matt Dupre and his committee that made it happen basked in the glow of a job well done.
   There was one more highlight that didn’t make the blog. Stonewall staged its annual Fall Scramble the weekend before Halloween. I was assigned to a couple of guys from Carlisle, Jeff Frazier and Brent Will, neither of whom had ever played Stonewall before.
   I can’t imagine the Old Course playing much tougher than it did that first day. It was a chilly day with winds absolutely howling out of the northwest. But these guys could play. Frazier, a left-hander with a somewhat unorthodox action, has played in the U.S. Mid-Amateur six times and Will just bombs it off the tee.
   We started on the sixth and Will drilled a 2-iron approach into the teeth of the wind to set up a birdie at eight, Frazier holed an impossible chip for birdie at the par-3 ninth, Will again stiffed an approach into a crosswind at 10 to set up another birdie and they made it four in a row with a birdie at the par-5 11th.
   Frazier hit a sweeping hook into the tough par-3 15th to tap-in range and Will holed a chip from behind the tough 16th for another birdie.
   The would sign for an 8-under 62 that was four shots better than anybody else could do. It might be the most fun I’ve ever had on a golf course. Give a lot of good golfers the line and the speed and they become great putters. Will always putted first, giving the line and the speed to Frazier and it got to the point where I was surprised when Frazier didn’t make the putt.
   They put together another 8-under 62 the next day in more serene conditions on the North Course that seemed almost routine. I’m not sure I had much to do with their victory, but they had never seen either course before, so I must have done something right. Just sayin’.
   The great thing about a blog is that all the stuff I wrote is still on here, arranged in chronological order. It’s kind of like a personal journal of local golf in 2016. You want to relive McDermott’s victory over Busby in the round of 16 at the U.S. Mid-Am, just go to early September and read away. You want to look back at Brynn Walker playing in the ShopRite LPGA Classic the weekend before she graduated from Radnor, it’s in here. If you finished in the top 10 in any division of a Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour event in 2016, you’re probably in here. Missed the PIAA postseason? T Mac Tees Off was live at the District One, East Regional and PIAA championships. A roundup of each of the six Inter-Ac League regular-season mini-tournaments? They’re here.
   This is post No. 370 for 2016. Not sure what 2017 will bring, but it is unlikely I’ll match that total. I haven’t been able to figure out how to make money for my efforts, but I’m open to suggestions. Hey, I’m a blogger, not an ad salesman. I’m closing in on 69,000 page views all-time and I’m guessing that nearly half of them were this year. If you have any ideas on how I can make this a little more worth my efforts or if you want to give me a heads-up on any golf news, my email address is chaseutfan@gmail.com.
   T Mac Tees Off isn't something I might try to do. The record of 370 posts in 2016 is there for the reading. No “fake news” here.
   For now, the plan is to keep T Mac Tees Off going in 2017. I wouldn’t mind making it another year of golf.





Friday, December 23, 2016

Christopher Fuga Memorial Member-Guest Classic a Phoenixville story



   There was a pretty neat item on the Golf Association of Philadelphia website concerning the Member-Guest this summer at Phoenixville Country Club.
   The Member-Guest is a big deal at every country club and I’m sure that is the case at Phoenixville. And this summer the membership renamed the event in honor of one of its deceased members. It was, for the first time this summer, the Christopher Fuga Memorial Member-Guest Classic.
   Fuga was a scholastic standout at St. Pius X and played collegiately at Coker College in South Carolina. He was diagnosed with leukemia in the spring of 2014 and underwent a bone marrow transplant that summer. By the summer of 2015, less than a year after the bone marrow transplant, Fuga had recovered sufficiently to tee it up in GAP’s BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship, reaching the semifinals at Llanerch Country Club before falling to eventual champion Cole Berman.
   The leukemia came back later that summer and, after another bone marrow transplant, Fuga appeared to be again on the road to recovery when his body, weakened by the cancer treatments, was unable to fight off an infection. He died Oct. 30 of last year at 24.
   Chris’ dad Mark had been a regular in the Member-Guest field at Phoenixville over the years along with his cousin Guy Giampietro. This summer Mark Fuga thought it would be a nice touch to use Chris’ clubs for the newly renamed Christopher Fuga Memorial Member-Guest.
   The event, played in mid-July, had five flights – in honor of Chris Fuga, each flight was named for a team he played for growing up – and it looked like Mark Fuga and Guy Giampietro were going to come up short in the Pottstown Spartans flight. The flight winners then go at it in a playoff to determine the overall winner.
   But no, Fuga and Giampietro got into a playoff for their flight and won it. Twice before in their partnership, they had reached the playoff, but never had they won the overall title. The playoff format is select drive, alternate shot.
   On the first hole of the playoff, Mark Fuga had a tough 14-foot downhill slider to keep the team alive. And it found the hole. Two teams were eliminated, three were left. All three teams missed the green on the par-3 second hole at Phoenixville, but Fuga and Giampietro had a shot, based on their combined handicaps.
   Mark Fuga's chip got 12 feet away and an easy two-putt – Mark Fuga knocked in the 15-inch tap-in – gave them the title with a net par.
   “It was surreal,” Mark Fuga told the GAP website. “We were packing clubs and taking shoes off. They came for us and said, ‘You’re in a playoff.’ Putts were short, shots went awry. It was an act of God – an act of Chris.”
   I covered a lot of sports in Phoenixville during a 15-year stint at The Mercury in Pottstown. It is a great little sports town. While I was at The Mercury, Andre Thornton was bashing home runs with the Cleveland Indians and Neal Olkewicz was playing in the Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins. A couple of Phoenixville guys, those two.
   I saw Rick Kraynak go from Phoenixville High to Pitt and all the way to the Eagles. I saw Mike Piazza go from Phoenixville High all the way to the baseball Hall of Fame.
   There were a ton of Phoenixville kids who didn’t have that kind of talent, but they were always tough, always competed. Some of them were Fugas and Giampietros.
   When I first met Chris Fuga that week at Llanerch – his uncle Stephen Giampietro told me the amazing story of his comeback from a bone marrow transplant and I later met Mark Fuga – I couldn’t help but think what a typical Phoenixville kid he was. He didn’t think it was such a big deal that less than a year after having a bone marrow transplant, he was shooting 69 at Llanerch and 73 at Rolling Green Golf Club to easily make the match-play bracket at the Philly Am.
   I was devastated to learn of his death a little more than a year ago. I talked to Mark Fuga and did a blog post in tribute to a young man who had made such an impression on me. Pretty sure that post (11-21-2015) has had more views than anything else I’ve written on this blog.
   What got Chris Fuga most excited that day at Llanerch was talking about the people at Temple’s Fox Chase Cancer Center who had given him a new lease on life.
   So, it was only appropriate that the Christopher Fuga Memorial Member-Guest Classic raised $5,000 for Temple’s Bone Marrow Transplant Program as well as $1,000 for Coker College and $1,000 for the Ginger English Memorial Fund.
   It happened in mid-July, but it makes for a pretty nice Christmas Eve story. And a pretty nice Phoenixville story. Like I said, it’s a great little sports town and Chris Fuga deserves his place right along with the big-leaguers it has produced.







Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lutz named the world's top amateur in 2016



   I have often referred to Reading’s Chip Lutz in this blog as arguably the best senior amateur golfer in the world.
   Well, a group of golf experts at Global Golf Post, which bills itself as the world’s leading digital golf news magazine, validated that opinion last month, naming Lutz its male Amateur of the Year in 2016 as part of its All-Amateur Team presentation. That’s right, they named Lutz, who turns 62 next month, the top male amateur golfer on the planet in 2016.
   The female Amateur of the Year is England’s Bronte Law, who won the Annika Award as Division I’s top player as a UCLA junior and recently turned pro.
   Lutz, the seven-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year, basically earned his honor during a stretch in early August when he won The Seniors Amateur Championship for the third time at Formby Golf Club in England and then was the only amateur to make the cut at the U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.
   “I went from England to Scioto where I was the only amateur to make the cut,” Lutz, who plays out of LedgeRock Golf Club in Mohnton, told Global Golf Post. “I got the gold medal there with my son on the bag. And, I hope to tell you, that was about as special as it gets.”
   Lutz made a long birdie putt on the first hole of three-man playoff to win the British Seniors crown for the third time, adding that to his two Canadian Senior titles and the elusive U.S. Senior Amateur championship that he finally grabbed at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. in 2015.
   Lutz fired a clutch 1-under 69 in the second round at Scioto after opening with a 77 to get inside the cut line and then went 74-70 on the weekend to finish tied for 37th at 10-over 290.
   Lutz was probably a little drained when he came home a few weeks later to tee it up in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall, a place he is very familiar with. His chances to make match play disappeared with four bogeys on the front side of the North Course – his second nine of the day -- on a Sunday that had turned blustery and cool after days, more like weeks, of high heat and humidity (full disclosure, I was looping for another player who failed to make match play at the North that day and the North was playing tough in the wind).
   It added up to a 6-over 76 for Lutz, which, combined with an opening-round 75 at the Old Course, left him two shots out of the playoff for the last spot in the match-play draw.
   A little more than a week later, Lutz was in St. Louis defending his U.S. Senior Amateur crown at Old Warson Country Club. He bounced back from an opening-round 77 in qualifying at Old Warson with a 1-over 72 to make match play before falling in the second round of match play.
   In his third USGA event in the month of September, Lutz represented Pennsylvania in the USGA State Team Championship held at the Country Club of Birmingham’s West Course in Alabama and helped the Keystone State finish tied for eighth at 5-over 531.
   The trio of Lutz, four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith and Christopher Crawford, who wrapped up a brilliant career at Drexel and then earned a spot in the U.S. Open field at Oakmont Country Club, entered the final round in second place in the team chase with Lutz matching par with a 71.
   The Global Golf Post story didn’t mention the Mid-Am, the Senior Amateur or the State Team Championship, but it is a pretty good read on Lutz’s career, including the fact that he basically didn’t  play competitively in the 1990s, shutting it down in favor of work and family. I would recommend giving it a look. There’s a link to it on the GAP website if you’re having trouble locating it.
   Among some of the other members of the men’s All-Amateur first team are Stanford senior Maverick McNealy, the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Florida sophomore Sam Horsfield, a native of England who grew up in Florida and is No. 3 in the WAGR, U.S. Amateur champion Curtis Luck of Australia and Bryson DeChambeau, the former SMU standout who has turned pro since claiming low-amateur honors at the Masters.
   Global Golf Post did not give much love to the mid-ams, although U.S. Mid-Am finalists Stewart Hagestad and Scott Harvey might get some notice in 2017 if one or both can fight their way onto the U.S. Walker Cup team.
   Law was probably a narrow choice over Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup teammate Leona Maguire, a junior at Duke who is No. 1 in the WAGR, for the choice as female Amateur of the Year.
   But Law was recognized for her college play with the Annika Award and she did go 5-0 in GB&I’s victory over the U.S. in the Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club outside of Dublin, Ireland, joining LPGA star Stacy Lewis as the only players to accomplish that feat.
   Law also made the cut the Ricoh British Women’s Open, had a dramatic come-from-behind win in the European Ladies Amateur and led England to its first European Ladies Amateur Team Championship in 23 years.
   Maguire was the low amateur at the Ricoh British Women’s Open and represented Ireland at both the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, helping the Irish to a bronze medal in Mexico.
   Maguire was eligible for LPGA Qualifying School’s Final Stage, but announced on the eve of the Q-School Final that she would remain at Duke for the rest of this year and next year before turning pro. Law earned conditional status on the LPGA Tour for 2017 and turned pro.
   In most years, Law and Maguire probably would have shown up at Rolling Green Golf Club for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, but all the schedule shifting to allow for the return of golf to the Olympics resulted in a conflict with the Ricoh British Women’s Open.
   Another All-Amateur first-teamer, Hannah O’Sullivan, also teed it up at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club rather than defend her U.S. Women’s Amateur title at Rolling Green. O’Sullivan was to join the powerhouse Southern California program in the fall, but at some point decided she was going to turn pro and bypass college golf.
   O’Sullivan was not in the field at the LPGA Q-School Final, but it’s possible she didn’t advance out of one of the earlier stages.
   But Rolling Green did offer a chance to see most of the top amateur players in the world and that’s reflected in some of the Global Golf Post’s All-Amateur team selections.
   The two finalists at Rolling Green, South Korea’s Eun Jeong Seong and Italy’s Virginia Elena Carta, are on the first team.
   Seong’s dramatic victory on the 36th hole at Rolling Green gave her a rare double as she added the U.S. Women’s Amateur title to the U.S. Girls’ Junior crown she won a couple of weeks earlier at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.
   Carta had announced her presence on the college scene earlier in 2016 with a runaway victory in the NCAA individual championship as a freshman at Duke.
   Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan, a senior at USC, and Wake Forest freshman Sierra Brooks, a member of a youthful U.S. Curtis Cup team, are two other All-Amateur first-team picks who were at Rolling Green. Chan fell in the first round of match play and then jetted off to Brazil and teed it up in the Summer Olympics. Brooks, who had fallen in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur final to O’Sullivan, failed to qualify for match play at Rolling Green.
   No less than seven members of the All-Amateur second team teed it up at Rolling Green, including U.S. Curtis Cuppers Mariel Galdiano, Andrea Lee, Mika Liu, Bailey Tardy and Monica Vaughan.
   I got to watch most of Galdiano’s second round of qualifying at Rolling Green and the UCLA freshman from Pearl City, Hawaii put on quite a show, ripping off four straight birdies at one point in a brilliant 6-under 65 over the tough William Flynn design that gave her medalist honors at 9-under 133. She was an upset loser in the first round of match play.
   Lee, who made a big splash in the fall portion of her freshman season at Stanford, reached the quarterfinals at Rolling Green before falling to eventual champion Seong on the 18th green in a tremendous match. It was a rematch of the U.S. Girls’ Junior final a couple of weeks earlier at Ridgeway that Seong also won.
   Liu, who will join Lee at Stanford next fall, Tardy, a sophomore at Georgia, and Vaughn, a senior at Arizona State and the grizzled veteran of the U.S. Curtis Cup team, all made the match-play bracket at Rolling Green.
   Another second-team pick who had a strong showing at Rolling Green was South Carolina senior Katelyn Dambaugh. I watched the talented left-hander fall, 2 and 1, in a terrific round-of-16 match with Japanese teen Nasa Hataoka.
   Dambaugh was the runnerup to Law in the Annika Award voting and teamed up with Galdiano and Lee to help the U.S. finish sixth at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. Dambaugh teed it up at the LPGA Q-School Final and played well enough to earn conditional status, but will return for the second half of her senior season with the Gamecocks before turning pro next summer.
   Also on the second team is France’s Mathilda Cappeliez, who reached the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur for the second year in a row at Rolling Green before falling. Along with Brooks, she gives Wake Forest a very talented pair of freshman players.
   Hataoka earned honorable mention on the All-Amateur team. She fell in the quarterfinals at Rolling Green after knocking off Dambaugh and she was still an amateur when she won the Japan Women’s Open Championship, a JLPGA major, in October. Hatoaka then turned pro and will be fully exempt  on the LPGA Tour in 2017 after a strong showing at the LPGA Q-School Final that wrapped up earlier this month.
   Alabama teammates Cheyenne Knight, a sophomore from Aledo, Texas, and Kristen Gillman, a freshman from Austin, Texas, are two other honorable mention picks who advanced to the match-play bracket at Rolling Green. Gillman won the 2014 U.S. Amateur title as a 16-year-old at Nassau Country Club on Long Island.