Young Cathrea Exceeding Expectations; Advances To Third Round Of WAPL
By Stuart Hall
Devens, Mass. — Casie Cathrea’s expectations for this week were actually quite simple.
“Just do my best,” said Cathrea, 13, of Livermore, Calif. “Par was my goal, birdies would be nice.”
In Thursday’s second-round match at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, Cathrea made five birdies on the first nine of the Red Tail Golf Club, took her first lead on the 10th hole and held on for a 1-up victory over 17-year-old Sarah Brown of Lopatcong Township, N.J.
Cathrea, making her first WAPL appearance, earned a round-of-16 matchup Thursday afternoon against Alice Kim of Walnut, Calif. Kim, who plays for the University of California-Davis, was a 5-and-4 winner over Victoria Park of Korea.
Finding herself 1-down after making three birdies in the opening four holes, Cathrea was undaunted. In fact, she was motivated in a positive way.
“It was hard, but it didn’t do anything to me mentally,” she said. “I didn’t get down on myself, but it made me look at my shots a little harder, especially my putts.”
Cathrea, now the youngest player left in the draw after 13-year-old Yueer Cindy Feng lost to Joanna Coe in the second round, totaled just 13 putts on the first nine, including the six one-putt holes. A routine par gave her a 1-up lead at No. 10 and a par on the 359-yard, par-4 13th hole created some breathing room until the 17th when Brown won hole to extend the match to No. 18.
“On the back nine I was actually starting to feel more comfortable,” said Cathrea, who is entering the ninth grade. “I could see [Brown] was getting tired and a little squirmy with her drives.”
With the potential for another 18-hole round in the afternoon, not to mention another 72 holes should she reach Saturday’s championship match, Cathrea says she feels fresh, which might explain her running after shots or between holes.
Playing on her school’s basketball team certainly helped prepare Cathrea for the long days. This past season helped her team win the eighth-grade girls championship with an 11-1 record.
“Right now, though, golf is my main priority,” said Cathrea, who qualified for her second U.S. Girls’ Junior prior to coming to Red Tail. Last year she missed the cut at the Girls’ Junior, shooting rounds of 84-74.
“I enjoy the competition,” she added, “but I also like going to all these new places and meeting people from difference cultures and countries. It’s just fun.”
Cathrea even finds the fun in playing the difficult 6,267-yard Red Tail layout. In fact, the harder the course the better she said.
“I really like the greens because of the undulations,” said Cathrea, admitting she doesn’t get many opportunities back home to play on such greens. “I just love how big the undulations are.”
Winning doesn’t hurt either.
Stuart Hall is a freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA championship Web sites.