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DEDHAM, Massachusetts – The 39 competitors at the U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier at Dedham Country & Polo Club were tested across 36 holes in wet conditions and cool temperatures. Despite the weather, golfers from across the world took full advantage of the course’s unique SubAir system and found the cup for a combined 114 birdies and 2 aces to go low on the day.
“Having rebuilt the greens in 2018 to USGA greens, we are able to host such big events like this with the weather we have been having,” said Matt Powell, Green and Grounds Superintendent at Dedham C&PC. “The new SubAir system drains the water out quicker, and the competitors wouldn’t have felt much of a difference given how much rain we’ve had. The course is in great shape and we are proud to showcase it like this.”
With just two spots up for grabs, Noémie Paré (Canada) took an early jump on the field through the first 18 holes and didn’t look back. The low amateur fired a 5-under 65 in the first round and closed out with a 2-over 72 to claim a piece of the medalist honors. This is Paré’s first time qualifying for a USGA event.
“I don’t know how to feel yet,” Paré said. “This is amazing, it’s just the right step in the right direction. I haven’t had time to process it yet, but I just can’t wait to experience the whole thing.”
Joining Paré and punching her ticket to her 17th U.S. Women’s Open is Christina Kim (San Jose, CA), who picked up the pace after a 1-over 71 first-round “warm-up”. Kim’s final 18 holes included 5 birdies for an impressive 4-under 66 performance.
“I just had a blast. Obviously, it’s springtime in New England, so anything can happen,” Kim said. “It was in the 50s and rainy and a bit breezy. But we were playing a Seth Raynor golf course. I am such a huge fan of his work [here] at Dedham Country & Polo Club, [it’s] just an incredible test of golf. And I was just having a blast! I was enjoying myself.”
The 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, will be contested at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California from June 3-6.
Paré, a graduate of Ball State University, had a strong season in 2020, with first-place finishes at the Québec Women’s Amateur Championship and the Palm Beach Collegiate Invitational. With hopes of heading to Q-School in the future, qualifying was a strong mark on the resume towards that end.
“It kind of all happened for me in the first four holes, to be honest,” Paré said. “I went 4-under through four, and they were not the easiest of holes to do that. I had to hang in there because the mind starts racing and you’re thinking what it would be like to be there when you’ve only played four holes. But it was good and I was able to stay in it and play well.”
Despite the pandemic and taking all the necessary precautions and safety measures when coming down from Canada, Paré was focused on the weather leading up to the event and getting time out on the course ahead of it.
“I’d been looking at the weather non-stop for like the last week so I was expecting some rain,” Paré said. “We’ve had some really nice weather back at home in Canada, which is not usually the case at this time of year, so I was able to prepare which was good. I did not pay too much attention to who I would be competing against and just kept my head down and worked hard. It paid off.”
Paré, a young amateur, and Kim, a well-established Professional, shared the same enthusiasm and excitement for qualifying on Wednesday. This will be Kim’s 17th U.S. Women’s Open and the feeling of qualifying is still very special for her.
QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Christina Kim (San Jose, CA); (-3) 137
a-Noémie Paré (Canada); (-3) 137
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Sophie Hausmann (Germany) (-2) 138
Isi Gabsa (Germany); (-1) 139
*Gabsa won one-hole playoff
Christina Kim, having turned professional in 2002, has become one of the more influential and must-follow players on the LPGA Tour. Her engaging personality and passionate approach to communicating with her followers on social media (@TheChristinaKim) is something to be admired. Beyond her social media game, her play out on the course made her visit to the Bay State one to remember.
With a great deal of confidence and her past experiences to carry her through, Kim took a 1-over 71 first round and turned it into a cumulative 3-under overall to grab a spot at the U.S. Women’s Open in June. After 18 holes, Kim found herself sitting T6 and 5-strokes off of the two qualifying spots. Like many other women in the field, Kim continued to grind with the only difference being that she played like one of those spots was already hers. Cool, calm and vibing, the 16-time competitor at the U.S. Women’s Open was entertaining to watch as she made her way through her lowest round for the year.
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