Annie Park Takes Early Lead For Medalist Honors At WAPL
Devens, Mass. – Annie Park, 14, of Levittown, N.Y., fired a 3-under-par 69 on Tuesday to go with her opening 70 and took the early lead for stroke-play medalist honors at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship being contested on the 6,267-yard, par-72 Red Tail Golf Club.
Park stands at 5-under 139 and leads by three over the early finishers. The second wave of 78 golfers, which includes first-round leader Lizette Salas, had afternoon starting times.
Park opened with birdies on the second, fifth, sixth and ninth holes on putts that ranged from 4 to 30 feet. Her only bogey came on the par-3 15th hole.
Leanne Bowditch, 22, of Australia, finished at 2-under 142, while reigning U.S. Girls' Junior runner-up Karen Chung, 14, of Livingston, N.J., Kristen Hill, 19, of Weston, Fla., and Sara Grantham, 20, of Wilsonville, Ala., all finished four strokes back at 143.
Park was elated by her scores. “I played incredibly yesterday and today, but especially yesterday, when the weather was bad,” said Park. “Today was fabulous. I had a lot of birdie putts.”
Tall at 5 feet, 8 inches, Park is a long hitter who carries the ball some 250 yards on her tee shots. From 155 yards, she uses as little as a 7-iron to reach a green.
While not as well-known as some junior players, Park is piling up a credible competitive record. In the Evian Junior Masters, she shot a score of 64. Her home course, coincidentally, is Bethpage State Park, where the 2009 U.S. Open just concluded on the Black Course.
“I haven’t played Bethpage Black since I was 12,” said Park. “Then I shot 82 on the course. I mostly play Bethpage Blue from the middle tees and generally shoot about 69.”
Following today’s second stroke-play qualifying round, the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play on Wednesday. A 36-hole final is scheduled for Saturday.
The Women’s Amateur Public Links is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association, of which 10 are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at email@example.com.