Kono and Cho Lead In U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship
Williamsburg, Va. Stephanie Kono, 14, of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Carling Cho, 19, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., shot 3-under-par rounds of 69 to lead stroke-play qualifying at the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship at the 6,159-yard, par-72 Green Course of Golden Horseshoe Golf Club.
Defending champion Michelle Wie, 14, of Honolulu, joined seven other players at 70. She joined USA Curtis Cup teammates Jane Park, 17, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Brittany Lang, 18, of McKinney, Texas, along with Jooyoung Yang, 16, of Korea, Ya-Ni Tseng, 15, of Chinese Taipei, Eva Yoe, 19, of China, Hwanhee Lee, 21, of Henderson, Nev., and Courtney Mahon, 20, of Topeka, Kan.
Kono, a schoolmate of Wie's at the Punahou School, birdied four holes on the back nine to finish late in the day. She is an incoming ninth-grader while Wie is an incoming sophomore.
Michelle has done a lot for women's golf, Kono said. I'm just hoping to do my best.
Cho was recently the low individual in the 2004 California Community College Championship. She made five birdies Tuesday, but double-bogeyed the seventh hole to finish at 69. I've been practicing hard, said Cho. I felt really confident on this course. A summer-school student, Cho brought her homework to Williamsburg. I took a computer test Sunday night, she said.
At 13, the long-hitting Wie captured the attention of the sports world with her stunning victory in the 2003 Women's Amateur Public Links. Wie admitted on Tuesday that she had jet lag after recent forays in the Curtis Cup and an attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Public Links on Friday in Hershey, Pa. She managed five birdies, three of them on par-5 holes.
I always feel comfortable on par fives, she said. Last year I made three eagles (on par fives). I can make my move.
A rare four-putt from 36 feet led to Wie's double bogey on the par-5 seventh hole.
I haven't four-putted in two years, Wie said. I made a lot of birdies today and I could have made a lot more. I shouldn't have made that bogey. I shouldn't have made that double bogey. That said, I'm pretty happy with my round.
Park birdied both par-3 holes on the front nine then combined a bogey with a birdie on the back side to join Wie.
Lang said her score surprised her. I made a couple of stupid mistakes, she said. I feel like I shot a million and I just shot 70.
Yang is a native of Korea who attends high school in Temecula, Calif. In Korea they don't go to school if they're great athletes, Yang said. My mom wanted me to get an education so I came here.
Tseng, an in-coming high school sophomore in Taiwan, routinely hit tee shots of 270 yards. She hit three of the par-five holes in two shots, the 498-yard fifth, the 512-yard 15th and the 466-yard 18th. Her round, however, included 34 strokes on greens.
I was too wristy on my putting stroke, Tseng said. I only made birdies on little putts.
Yoe is a student at Santa Monica College. She won the Hong Kong Ladies Open last year and captured the 2004 Philippines Junior Open. Lee was runner-up in the 2002 Women's Amateur Public Links. Mahon finished in Tuesday's final group to become the eighth player at 70.
Stroke-play qualifying concludes Wednesday and the low 64 scorers advance to match play. A 36-hole final on Sunday will determine the champion.
The Women's Amateur Public Links is one of 13 championships conducted by the United States Golf Association. Ten are strictly for amateurs.
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