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Headline: Three Days After Winning Symetra Tour Event, Denmark Native Nanna Madsen Punches Ticket to 2017 U.S. Women's Open Championship
For Immediate Release: June 7, 2017
|Nanna Madsen (left) advanced to the 2017 U.S. Women's Open Championship at a sectional qualifier held at South Shore CC. Alexa Pano finished as low amateur.|
Hingham, MA — To say that it has been a career week for Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Copenhagen, DEN) would be an understatement.
Three days after winning the Fuccillo Kia Classic of New York, a Symetra Tour event, the Denmark native fired a 36-hole score of 3-under par 139 at South Shore Country Club to punch her ticket to the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
2017 U.S. Women's Open Sectional Qualifying Links:
It was the lone qualifying spot available in Hingham, which is one of 21 sectional qualifying sites located across the United States.
CLICK HERE to view all scores from the South Shore CC sectional qualifier.
“I am feeling really, really good,” said Madsen, who will be making her first career appearance at Championship Proper later this month. “This is just awesome to play in the U.S. Open. That is a goal that I have always had, so it’s going to be fun to try that.”
Her performance in Hingham on Wednesday continues what has been a breakout season for a golfer who currently holds dual membership in the Ladies European Tour and Symetra Tour and has an eye on being selected to Team Europe for the Solheim Cup.
“I think that I have a good chance of doing well at the U.S. Open,” said Madsen. “I won last week, and I am playing really good at the moment and am excited to see how it goes.”
It was a special moment for Madsen but one that she had to wait an extra 24 hours to enjoy.
The sectional qualifier was originally scheduled to be played on June 6th, but heavy rain and unplayable conditions forced the event to be moved to Wednesday.
When play did commence earlier this morning, Madsen used a fast start – she was 3-under par through her first nine holes – to post a 3-under par 68.
At the midway point of the qualifier, she held a three-stroke lead over the field. Following a brief lunch break and with the sun finally shining over South Shore Country Club, Madsen retook to the course and continued her stellar play. She posted a 1-under par 35 on the South Shore CC front nine to extend her lead.
“I was playing really good from tee to green and made a stupid mistake on my third to last hole which almost cost me the victory,” said Madsen. “But today was a good day, and I didn’t make that many mistakes and it was a nice day out here.”
Today’s sectional qualifier was originally scheduled for June 6th at South Shore Country Club to coincide with the celebration of National Women’s Golf Day.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans that day. Persistent and at times heavy rain battered the course during the morning hours.
With all but one group left to tee off, event organizers made the decision to cancel the round due to unplayable conditions and more rain scheduled throughout the rest of the day.
Special thanks to the host club of South Shore Country Club for allowing the 36-hole sectional qualifier to be rescheduled for the following day. The same schedule and starting times were honored.
The original forecast called for a half inch of rain, but in the end a total of 2.8 inches of rain fell in Hingham from Sunday evening through Tuesday.
“We are extremely grateful to the staff here at South Shore Country Club for preparing the course for play and being so generous over the two-day period,” said Laura Nochta, the MGA’s manager of NEGA Operations & USGA Qualifying. “The crew did an amazing job, and the competitors were appreciative of the conditions especially under such challenging circumstances.”
She may only be 12 years old, but Alexa Pano (Lake Worth, FL) has traveled countless miles for golf. This week, she made a trek from her home in Lake Worth, Florida to a state where it all began.
Pano was born in Westboro, but has lived most of the time in Florida with her father, Rick Pano, and now plays most of her golf out of PGA National Resort & Spa.
It was well worth the trip as she finished with a score of 5-over par 147 and earned low-amateur honors.
"It was an amazing experience," said Pano. "In Florida we definitely don't play hills and rough like this, so playing up north has really helped me. Today my round was pretty steady and I didn't get into the rough that much. My tee shots were really good and my shots to my greens were really good... it was my putting that cost me today, but I am going to work on that and fix it for next week."
Even after she moved to Florida, she maintained close ties to the Bay State as her first teacher was Bob Toski, a member of the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame.
"He has definitely been a huge influence on me," said Pano. "He is basically my mentor and an amazing person. He has said many things to me that have stuck with me from the first day that I have played golf."
Pano won her first event at the age of six and ever since then has blossomed into one of the most talked about young talents in the country. Last year, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball championships.
This past spring, she won her second straight divisional title at the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship held at Augusta National Golf Club. This week marked the fourth time that Pano will have attempted to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
Throughout her 36 holes on Wednesday, Pano displayed a precocious sense of calm as she managed both her round as well as the attention of a local camera crew that followed her throughout the day. The crew was commissioned by the USGA to document Pano as part of its “Drive to the Women’s Open” feature.
"Sometimes it can be frustrating when cameras are following you all over and you just want to relax and act natural," said Pano. "They were great, so it was pretty easy to stay calm."
Although she won’t be advancing to the U.S. Women’s Open Championship this year after posting a score of 8-over par 150, amateur Taylor Totland (Tinton Falls, NJ) is still glowing from her recent victory at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Totland and her former teammate at Furman University, Alice Chen, captured the USGA Championship title last month at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club (SC).
A particularly memorable moment for Totland that week came on the 11th hole of the championship match. With her opponent on the green in two and poised to cut the deficit to 1 down, Totland – from well below the green and in the front greenside bunker - landed the ball on the perfect line and gave it the perfect amount of pace to find the bottom of the hole for a birdie from about 30 feet away.
As a result of the victory, Chen and Totland joined the likes of Betsy King (1989 and 1990 U.S. Women’s Open), Beth Daniel (1975 and 1977 U.S. Women’s Amateur) and Todd White (2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball) as USGA champions from Furman.
For the first time in many months, Brittany Altomare (Tampa, FL) was able to sleep in a bed that was very familiar to her. The Symetra Tour player currently resides in Tampa, Florida but Shrewsbury is what she called home for most of her life.
“It wasn’t the original plan to stay at home because it is about an hour away, but I did get to sleep in my own bed last night and I was happy to be home,” said Altomare, who finished as second alternate after posting a score of 1-over par 143. “I had been planning to take this next week off, so I have until Sunday to just hang with family and friends so I am excited about that.”
At the age of 11 she won the Ladies Club Championship at her home club of Cyprian Keyes Golf Club. She went on to be a standout player for the boys’ golf team at Shrewsbury High School (from 2004-08) and then was a four-time All-American and the 2013 ACC Player of the Year at the University of Virginia.
Following her graduation in 2013, Altomare embarked on a professional golf career which has seen her compete mostly on the Symetra Tour, the developmental tour of the LPGA.
One year ago, she notched her first major victory at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay where she took home a winner’s check of $16,500. That win also assured her a spot on the LPGA Tour for this season.
Thus far in 2017, Altomare has made the cut in seven of 10 LPGA Tournaments and has earned $68,193.
She most recently finished T36 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer on June 2.
“I feel like I am teetering on playing really well,” said Altomare who was even par through her final 18 holes on Wednesday. “I feel like it’s coming, but it hasn’t. It has shown itself in bits and pieces, but when I finally put it all together it will be something good.”
When play was canceled on June 6th, three competitors had a unique dilemma. Daniela Holmquist (Jupiter, FL), Kristy McPherson (Conway, SC) and Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Roi Et, THA) were scheduled to compete in the Manulife LPGA Classic. The LPGA event was set to begin on June 8th in Cambridge, Ontario.
Those three competitors were reassigned to other sectional qualifying sites and allowed to depart Massachusetts for Canada in order to compete in the LPGA Tournament. Also featured in the Manulife LPGA Classic is Megan Khang, a Rockland native and former WGAM Player of the Year.
In addition to Altomare, there were many more familiar local names in today’s field.
Angela Garvin is the reigning WGAM Junior Amateur Champion. One year ago during a two-week span in June, Garvin, who is 16 years old, qualified for the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and won both the Massachusetts and New England girls high school championships.
Westford native Alison Walshe grew up playing golf at Vesper Country Club and working in the pro shop at Nabnasset Lake Country Club. Before turning professional in 2009, Walshe played collegiate golf at the University of Arizona, where she was a three-time All-American with 10 individual wins. She was a member of the victorious U.S. Curtis Cup Team in 2008, and played for the U.S. World Amateur Championship team. On this day, Walshe posted a score of 1-under par 141 to finish as first alternate.
Amateurs Hannah Ghelfi and Jennifer Keim are both coming off their freshman collegiate campaigns at the University of Michigan and Florida Atlantic University, respectively. Ghelfi is a resident of Falmouth who in 2015 captured the Pippy O'Connor Independent School Girls Classic to claim the New England Prep School individual championship.
Last June, Keim placed second in the New England High School Championship for Monomoy Regional High School and won the US Challenge Cup Junior Championship. Shen then placed second in the WGAM Amateur Championship at GreatHorse.
Golf talent run deeps in the Shieh household. Karolyne Shieh was a former standout golfer at Concord-Carlisle High School where she captured the MIAA Girls Individual Golf Championship. Earlier this year, Karolyne’s younger sister Gabrielle Shieh competed in the 2017 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club.
Alicia Reggiannini is a native of Norwell who attended Norwell High School before she competed on the golf team at the University of Richmond.
Jackie Gonzalez is from West Roxbury and attended Ursuline Academy. She just completed her freshman season at the College of Holy Cross. Her father Gene Gonzalez who is an independent sales representative here in New England for many top golf brands including Donald Ross, Sunice, Maui Jim and ECCO.
Camden Morrison of Millis is another collegiate golfer who just completed her junior year at Franklin Pierce University. Before Franklin Pierce, Morrison played basketball, golf, and tennis at Millis
The U.S. Women’s Open was added to the USGA’s roster of championships in 1953, 58 years after the first U.S. Women’s Amateur. The reason for the USGA’s relatively late assumption of the Women’s Open is simple: women’s professional golf is fairly new.
The Women’s Open is the oldest championship open to women professionals and amateurs. Rawls and Mickey Wright, the only other four-time winner were the championship’s dominant players from 1957 through 1964. In 1967, Catherine Lacoste, daughter of French tennis player Rene Lacoste and 1927 British Ladies Amateur champion Simone Thion de la Chaume, became the only amateur to win the Women’s Open.
In 2014, the USGA introduced international qualifying for the first time, with sectionals taking place in the People's Republic of China, England, Japan and the Republic of Korea. The 2014 U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst No. 2 also was the first time the U.S. Open and Women's Open were conducted at the same venue in consecutive weeks.
In 2017, the USGA accepted 1,709 entries for the 72nd U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which will be conducted July 13-16, 2017, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Entries were accepted from golfers in 47 states (all except Alaska, West Virginia and Wyoming) and 51 countries in total.
Sectional qualifying is being conducted over 36 holes between May 22 and June 12. Qualifying is being held at 21 sites in the United States, as well as four international sites: one each in England, Japan, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea.