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The amateurs made a U.S. Women's Open statement. Amelia Garvey is ready to 'smash it' again Friday

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In Thursday’s opening round of the U.S. Women’s Open, the amateur highlights were plenty. Then again, they were coming from 24 different directions.

Pauline Roussin-Bouchard’s near slam-dunk at the par-3 16th on the Cypress Creek course ranked highly on the list. The South Carolina player, who spent time in 2020 as the top-ranked amateur in the world, was in the second group off Cypress Creek’s No. 1 tee on Thursday morning. Her birdie at 16 was her second consecutive. It helped her put the finishing touches on a round of 1-under 71, good for a tie for 12th.

The day felt much longer than it actually was. Roussin-Bouchard, a native of France, played the golf course in her head all night. On Thursday, she played the first 10 holes without a bogey.

Consider it revenge. Roussin-Bouchard played the Evian Championship last year, another LPGA major. She opened with 87 and still has a bad taste in her mouth about it.

“I’m happy because I really played the golf I wanted to play and I had the behavior I wanted to have, so really satisfied from this round,” she said.

USWO: Leaderboard | PhotosTV info

Roussin-Bouchard is No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking – a position she gained on the strength of victories at the 2019 Portuguese Ladies Amateur and Italian Ladies Amateur – and it got her into this championship. The USGA selected the top 20 players in that ranking to compete at Champions

Ranking also would have also easily gotten her into the U.S. Women’s Amateur, but four months ago, Roussin-Bouchard was still at home in France. With quarantines still a reality for international travelers, she ended up remaining in Europe until the start of the college season.

Roussin-Bouchard is playing this week with her college golf coach Kalen Anderson on the bag. The two are keeping the routine they’d usually go through in a college tournament, Roussin-Bouchard said.

Anderson is one of a handful of college coaches with a caddie bib in Houston this week. Georgia head coach Josh Brewer is carrying Bulldog sophomore Caterina Don’s (77, T-126) bag and USC head coach Justin Silverstein is on the bag for 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur champ Gabriela Ruffels (71, T-25). Texas assistant Kate Golden is caddying for Kaitlyn Papp (71, T-25)

Six of the 24 amateurs are at par or better. Arizona State’s Linn Grant, with a 2-under 69 at Cypress Creek, is in the best shape at T-6 on the leaderboard. That’s the same number she fired to open the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, her only other U.S. Women’s Open start.

Ruffels, of Australia, is one of three USC players in the field. Teammate Amelia Garvey, a New Zealander, fired a 1-under 70 at Cypress Creek and is T-12. After a birdie on her first hole, it went through Garvey’s mind that she might be the early leader at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Not a bad thought process for her first major.

In 2015, Garvey became the second-youngest player, behind Lydia Ko, to win a pro event in New Zealand. Early week at Champions, Garvey played with Ko. The LPGA veteran raved about the state of Garvey’s game since the two saw each other three years ago – another confidence boost.

“Actually I said to my caddie when we were walking off the green, I actually thought to myself this morning, I have the game to win this thing,” Garvey said, “and then coming down 18, which was my ninth hole today, it was nice to see Garvey up on the leaderboard.”

Second-round tee times were moved up 80 minutes because of expected weather on Friday afternoon, so there won’t be much time for Garvey to think overnight.

“Refocus, I guess,” she said of facing Champions’ Jackrabbit golf course in the next round, “set some new goals and go out there tomorrow and smash it.”

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/10/us-womens-open-amateurs-amelia-garvey/

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