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NORTON, Massachusetts — The first United States Golf Association (USGA) competition of 2021 will mark the return of one of many the amateur and open championships that were canceled last year due to COVID-19. It’ll also see three Bay State natives getting another shot on the national stage.
Three Mass Golf Members and first-year college students — Anne Walsh, Gabrielle Shieh, and Rebecca Skoler — will be among 128 players (64 sides) competing in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship being contested from Saturday, April 24 through Wednesday, April 28 at Maridoe Golf Club, located in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.
All three players competed in the 2019 Championship Proper but missed the cut for Match Play.
Walsh and Shieh, who attend Columbia University and Brown University, respectively, qualified in September by splitting medalist honors at the Scituate Country Club qualifier. Last year, Walsh won the Ouimet Memorial Tournament (Women’s Division) and was finalist in the Mass Women’s Amateur. Shieh won the MIAA Girls Individual State Championship in 2019.
Skoler, the reigning Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur champion, is currently in her first year at the University of Virginia. She’ll be joined by Sophie Simon, the 2019 Maryland Girls’ Junior champion and a Yale University commit. Skoler hasn’t competed for UVA yet but has been vigorously training during the winter and spring months.
The pair took the lone spot during a qualifying event in October at the Country Club of Petersburg (Va.).
Perhaps no team is seeking more redemption than Skoler and Simon. After the first round of the 2019 Championship Proper, they disqualified themselves after noticing that they signed an incorrect scorecard.
“Sophie and I learned a lot and are so grateful to have another opportunity to play this together,” Skoler said. “I am so happy to be back in competition and am ready to put my golf to a test on this really challenging course. I am looking forward to a super fun week.”
The Championship Proper, the sixth competition in its history and the first USGA Championship to ever be held at Meridoe GC, will feature 64 of the top female amateur duos from across the world competing in two rounds of stroke play, with the top 32 teams advancing to match play, which will begin on Monday, April 26.
Anne Walsh (Boston, Mass.) & Gabrielle Shieh (Carlisle, Mass.)
Round 1: Tee 1 | 8:54 a.m. ET || Round 2: Tee 1 | 12:18 p.m. ET
Rebecca Skoler (Needham, Mass.) & Sophie Simon (Potomac, Maryland)
Round 1: Tee 1 | 9:06 a.m. ET || Round 2: Tee 1 | 12:30 p.m. ET
In four-ball, matches are played in pairs (a player and a partner, called a side, against another player and partner), with each golfer playing his or her own ball on each hole. At the end of each hole, the player with the lowest score wins that hole for the side. In stroke play, the low score is the side’s score for that hole.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball consists of 18 holes of stroke play on April 24 and 18 holes of stroke play on April 25, after which the 64 sides (128 players) will be reduced to the low 32 sides (64 players) for match play.
There will be five rounds of match play, starting April 26 with the first round. The second and quarterfinal rounds are slated for April 27. The semifinals will be played on the morning of April 28, with the 18-hole championship match scheduled to follow at 2 p.m. ET.
Maridoe Golf Club, formerly known as the Honors Club Dallas and before that the Columbian Club, opened for play during the summer of 2017. Architect Steve Smyers, formerly of the USGA Executive Committee, was hired to completely redo the layout by new owner Albert Huddleston. Surrounding a 28-acre lake, the course is a true representation of the landscape native to Texas. Golfers navigate through soft, billowing grasses, lower forested areas, across the prairie and back to the lake that anchors Maridoe.
Maridoe counts 2015 U.S. Open champion and two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champ Jordan Spieth, and 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Will Zalatoris, among its 200-plus members. Braden Thornberry, a member of the victorious 2017 USA Walker Cup Team with Zalatoris, also plays out of Maridoe.
Mass Golf will have updates on the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship on MassGolf.org and across its social media platforms. Follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest information. To join the conversation, be sure to use the hashtag #USWFourBall.