Katie Miller of Jeannette and Aurora Kan of Boothwyn couldn’t withstand a four-birdie onslaught on the front nine from the pair of Kathleen Gallagher and Kendall Griffin and were knocked out, 3 and 2, in the opening round of match play Monday in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Miller, who won PIAA titles in 1999, 2000 and 2002 at Hempfield Area, and Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, fell behind when Gallagher, of Greenwood, Miss., and Griffin, of Sebring, Fla., birdied the second hole.
Miller, a former North Carolina standout, and Kan, who starred collegiately at Purdue, answered with a birdie at the third. Gallagher, who just completed her sophomore season at LSU, and Griffin, who will join the LSU program in the fall, birdied the fourth to take a 1-up lead, but again Miller and Kan answered with back-to-back birdies at five and six to take a 1-up lead.
But Gallagher and Griffin then ripped off three straight wins, taking seven and eight with birdie and the ninth with a par to turn their 1-down deficit into a 2-up advantage. They widened the lead to 3-up by winning the par-3 12th with a par.
Miller and Kan missed chances to cut into the lead when the par-5 13th was halved with bogeys and the par-5 15th was halved with pars.
The pair of four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, a South Jersey native and eight-time Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur champion, and Dawn Woodard fell to Colorado teammates Brittany Fan and Esther Lee, 2-up.
In a rematch of a quarterfinal match from last year’s Four-Ball, defending champions Hailee Cooper and Kaitlyn Papp defeated San Diego sisters Nicole and Waverly Whiston, 4 and 2. Papp will join the Texas program in August and Cooper will follow her to Austin in 2018.
Alice Chen and Taylor Totland, the Jersey girls on a strong Furman team this season, advanced with a 6 and 4 victory over former SMU teammates Brigette Dunne of Camarillo, Calif. and Alelxandra Rossi of Austin, Texas. Dunne was a sophomore with the Mustangs this spring while Rossi finished up at SMU a year ago.
Chen is from Princeton, N.J. and Totland is from Tinton Falls, N.J.
Chen and Totland, Cooper and Papp, and Fan and Lee were co-medalists in qualifying, all ending up at 12-under 132 over the 6,296-yard, par-72 Robert Trent Jones Sr. design.
One week after claiming the NCAA individual championship, Arizona State’s Monica Vaughn and her partner, Georgia sophomore Bailey Tardy, teammates on the 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup team, advanced to Tuesday’s round of 16 with a 2-up victory over junior stars Jaravee Boonchat of Thailand and Ya Chun Chang of Bradenton, Fla. via Chinese Taipei. Boonchat will join the powerhouse Duke program at the end of the summer.
The men’s Four-Ball, meanwhile, is being staged at another of America’s great golf resorts, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in The Village of Pinehurst, N.C., and there former Penn State teammates Brendan Borst and Tommy McDonagh, the last team to survive an 8-for-6 playoff Monday morning, stunned qualifying medalists and Ohio State teammates Clark Engle and Will Grimmer, 3 and 2, in an opening-round match.
Borst, a Pittsburgh native who is part of the deep stable of talent at Philadelphia Cricket Club, and McDonagh of Norwalk, Conn., played steady golf in ousting Engle of Springfield, Ohio and Grimmer of Cincinnati. Borst and McDonagh won four holes with pars and two with birdies on Pinehurst No. 2, the 7,161-yard, par-70 Donald Ross classic.
Borst and McDonagh birdied three holes on the back nine of Pinehurst No. 8 Sunday, although I’m not positive they started on the first, to finish off a 1-under 70 that got them into the playoff at even-par 141. They earned the final spot in match play with a par on the third hole of the playoff.
The Huntingdon Valley Country Club pair of Sean Seese and Ben Smith also emerged from that playoff to earn a spot in the match-play bracket, but were ousted by Floridians Chip Brooke and Mark Dull, 4 and 3. Dull, a looper at the Streamsong Resort and a Winter Haven, Fla. native, was the runnerup in the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.