Two of the best players in the short history of PIAA girls golf, Katie Miller and Aurora Kan, teamed up for a 4-under-par 68 at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. to put themselves in solid position to make match play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Miller of Jeanette in western Pennsylvania claimed PIAA titles in 1999, 2000 and 2002 while at Hempfield Area. Kan of Boothwyn won the 2010 PIAA crown as a senior at Chichester after finishing second the previous two years.
Miller, a former North Carolina standout, and Kan, who starred collegiately at Purdue, opened up with a birdie at the first hole and an eagle at the second to get to 3-under pretty quickly. They had birdies on 10, 13 and 15 on the back nine over the 6,296-yard, par-72 Robert Trent Jones Sr. design, but bogeyed the two par-3s on the back, the 12th and 17th.
Still, their 4-under total left them tied for sixth with the second round scheduled for Sunday. The top 32 teams advance to match play, which gets under way Monday.
There is plenty of experience in this pairing.
Miller teamed with Charlotte Daughan of Orlando, Fla. to capture the Women’s International Four-Ball, an event on the winter Orange Blossom Tour in Florida, at The Wanders Club in Wellington, Fla. for the second year in a row in February. Kan is playing in her 11th USGA event. She survived a playoff to make match play at last summer’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club before falling to South Carolina standout Katelyn Dambaugh in the first round.
Three teams are tied for the lead in the battle for medalist honors at 6-under 66, led by Hailee Cooper and Kaitlyn Papp, the Texas teens who won this championship a year ago at the Streamsong Resort in Florida. Papp will join the Texas program in the fall and Cooper will follow her to Austin a year later. Look out, Big 12.
They are joined by Furman’s Jersey girls, Alice Chen of Princeton, N.J. and Taylor Totland of Tinton Falls, N.J., and Amanda Minni and Ellie Slama. Chen and Totland were part of a really nice Furman team that finished 12th in the NCAA Championship, just seven shots behind the last of the eight teams that qualified for match play at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
Among the teams tied with Kan and Miller for sixth is the formidable pair of 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup teammates, Georgia junior Bailey Tardy and Arizona State’s Monica Vaughn.
Vaughn of Reedsport, Ore., is having a pretty good week. She capped her career with the Sun Devils by winning the individual NCAA championship Monday and then leading them to the eighth team title in school history Wednesday. And I mean she really led them. You can refer back to my post earlier in the week on the final day of the NCAA Championship.
Among the group of five teams tied for 14th at 3-under 69 is the pair of Meghan Stasi, the South Jersey native and eight-time Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur champion, and Dawn Woodard, who have been a solid duo in this championship in each of the first three years of its existence.
A little north of Myrtle Beach, at another pretty famous golf resort, The Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., the men’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship got under way Saturday as well.
The pair of Wilson Furr of Jackson, Miss. and Davis Shore of Knoxville, Tenn. are atop the leaderboard after carding an 8-under 63 at the 7,073-yard, par-71 Pinehurst No. 8. Kenny Cook of Noblesville, Ind. and Sean Rowen of Greenwood, Ind. are a shot back with a 7-under 64 at No. 8.
The Huntingdon Valley Country Club pair of Sean Seese, a former La Salle High and Saint Joseph’s standout, and Ben Smith carded a 3-over 73 over Pinehurst No. 2, the 7,161-yard, par-70 Donald Ross classic, and are tied for 86th.
Seese and Smith opened with a birdie, but made bogeys at six, seven, eight and 17.
The Whitford Country Club pair of David West and Chris Yard struggled to an 83 on Pinehurst No. 2.
Seese and Smith were the medalists in the local qualifier for the Four-Ball last fall at Whitford. West and Yard got the second qualifying berth in a playoff on their home course.