KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. – Just a single U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship qualifying spot was up for grabs Tuesday at Kennett Square Golf & Country Club (par 72, 5,998 yards). That lone prize – coupled with a challenging setting of sprinkling skies – made for an interesting shootout that ended in a 2-for-1 playoff.
| Scorecards |
Coming out with the sole invitation were Faith Choi (Frederick, Md.) and Aneka Seumanutafa (Emmitsburg, Md.), an energetic, long-hitting duo, which fired a 5-under 67 and eventually prevailed on the second sudden-death playoff hole to finish atop a field of eight national-stage hopefuls.
Falling to the medalists in the playoff were Sarah Beqaj (Toronto, Ontario) and Britta Snyder (Ames, Iowa), who earned the first alternate position with a 5-under 67 of their own. Maisie Filler (Bloomfield, Conn.) and Rylie Heflin (Avondale, Pa.) carded a 1-under 71 to finish in the second alternate spot.
The low-team’s day began strong with their first birdie arriving early on No. 2 (par 4, 334 yards). Choi pushed both her drive and approach shot, but a chip from in front of the green rolled in and dropped for their first red number. Choi would get another one for the leaders on No. 3 (par 3, 160 yards), where she placed a soft 6-iron to five feet and got the birdie look to drop.
“I was telling her to let me do some work, but she handled [the birdies] early,” said the 17-year-old Seumanutafa, who is set to join the Ohio State University team in January. “We were feeling comfortable on the front.”
“We were looking at 7 under coming in today after our practice round on Saturday, but it was a good start,” said the 15-year-old Choi.
Six pars followed, rounding out the Maryland duo’s front nine at 2 under. They’d gain more ground on Kennett Square’s back side.
On No. 10 (par 4, 403 yards), Choi followed a fairway drive with a 4-iron that nestled up to 10 feet. The birdie putt was converted. A shot was given back on No. 15 (par 4, 367 yards) with their single bogey blemish of the day, but the highlight of the day arrived soon after.
The par-5, 410-yard 16th hosted a Choi eagle. Her 3-wood approach from 210 yards out ran up to 15 feet – a sliding putt that found the bottom of the cup. Their final red figure in regulation came on No. 17 (par 5, 433 yards) in result of a two-putt birdie from 15 feet by Seumanutafa.
“We didn’t know where we stood coming up 18. But by the way everyone was standing around, and seeing [Beqaj and Snyder] warming up on the range, we figured we were headed for a playoff,” said Choi, who won the Maryland State Golf Association Junior Girls Championship title in June.
That assumption was correct. The 2-for-1 playoff teed off minutes after all scores were turned in under steady rainfall. On No. 1 (par 4, 378 yards), both teams missed mid-range looks leading to standard two-putt pars. The rain turned into downpour as the playoff headed to the 2nd tee box. Despite that, it was Seumanutafa’s time to shine.
The Buckeye bomber blasted her drive 260 yards down the center cut, leading to a splash landing with no roll, putting Seumanutafa in position A. Snyder played her approach from a challenging lie in the left rough, sending it up and over the green to the right. Beqaj, also in the fairway, got too much wet turf with a wedge and came up short. Choi safely played her second to the center of the green.
Next up was Seumanutafa, who hit a cut 60-degree wedge from 70 yards out. It looked good off the club face, and looked even better when it landed, as it cozied up to three feet. Beqaj came up short with her third, while Snyder chipped hers well past the cup. Choi played her birdie putt from 12 feet safe and tapped in for 4, giving Seumanutafa a safety net on her clincher. The three-foot birdie was good, and the rain-soaked medalists had officially punched their ticket.
The duo has known each other for four years now through various Junior golf competitions including AJGA tournaments. It was only a matter of time before Choi and Seumanutafa joined up on the national stage.
“We’ve both played in the [Four Ball] before, but never together, which we’ve always wanted to do,” said Seumanutafa.
“I think we can definitely [make a run at the championship] now that we’ve made it through,” said Choi.
The 2019 #USWomensFourBall will be conducted April 27-May 1, 2019, at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla. The U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, which was first played in 2015, is open to all female competitors with a Handicap Index® of 14.4 or lower.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|*Faith Choi/Aneka Seumanutafa; Frederick, Md., Emmitsburg, Md.||67|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*Sarah Beqaj/Britta Snyder; Toronto, Ontario, Ames, Iowa||67|
|Maisie Filler/Rylie Heflin; Bloomfield, Conn., Avondale, Pa.||71|
|Failed to qualify|
|Phoebe Brinker/Jennifer Cleary; Wilmington, Del.||74|
|Angelina Tolentino/Sydney Yermish; Mount Laurel, N.J., Wynnewood, Pa.||76|
|Aviva Hockfield/Samantha Miller; Philadelphia, Pa., Springfield, Pa.||78|
|Angie Whitley Coleman/Allison Long; New Castle, Del., Coatesville, Pa.||83|
|Sawyer Brockstedt/Ellison Lundquist; Rehoboth Beach, Del., Furlong, Pa.||84|
|* – decided in 2-for-1 playoff (Seumanutafa birdie on No. 2)|