- Golfer Benefits
NORTON, Massachusetts – The Bay State has two representatives in the field at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship next week: Westford’s Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club) and Sandwich’s Emma Abramson (The Ridge Club).
Smith and Abramson will head west to Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington next week for the start of the championship on Monday, August 8. The championship concludes with a 36-hole round between the two match-play finalists on Sunday, August 14.
Smith took home medalist honors in qualifying at Nashawtuc Country Club last month, finishing with a 3-under 69 as the only competitor to complete the round under par.
Smith returns to the championship for the second time in her career and for the second year in a row. The rising senior at Westford Academy competed in the first two rounds of stroke play at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur but finished 3 strokes back of the cutline for match play.
Abramson will make her first appearance in the championship after tying with three other competitors at Nashawtuc for the final four spots. Though she entered the qualifier with moderate expectations, Abramson shot a even-par 72, powered by a strong performance down the stretch, to earn a championship berth.
“I started around out with a birdie today, so it was a good start,” Abramson said after finishing her qualifying round. “I just want to view it as 18 holes total and not just like a front versus back but definitely coming down the stretch is where I haven’t been as strong as lately, so to come in even with a long birdie putt on 17 and birdie on 11, those just help fuel to the finish.”
Smith tees off at 12:55 p.m. PDT for the first round. Smith is grouped with Canada’s Angela Arora and Guatemala’s Jasmine Youn.
Abramson tees off at 7:11 a.m. PDT on Day 1. Abramson is paired with Delaware’s Sarah Lydic, an incoming freshman on the University of Richmond women’s golf team, and Mississippi’s Hannah Levi, a rising senior on the women’s golf team at Mississippi State University.
Monday, August 8 – First round, stroke play, 18 holes
Tuesday, August 9 – Second round, stroke play, 18 holes
Wednesday, August 10 – Round of 64, match play (Golf Channel, 6-9 p.m.)
Thursday, August 11 – Round of 32 and Round of 16, match play (Golf Channel, 7-10 p.m.)
Friday, August 12 – Quarterfinal round, match play (Golf Channel, 7-10 p.m.)
Saturday, August 13 – Semifinal round, match play (Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m.)
Sunday, August 14 – Championship match, 36 holes (Golf Channel, 7-10 p.m., Afternoon 18)
With Smith and Abramson set to begin college in the next two years, both preached the U.S. Women’s Amateur as an opportunity to face the caliber of competition they’ll be up against at the NCAA level.
“I think it’s actually super interesting that for the [U.S. Women’s Amateur], it’s mostly college players and there’s not very many that qualify that are older than college and there aren’t that many that qualify that are younger than college,” Smith said. “It’ll be really fun, I’m really excited.”
Abramson echoed Smith’s sentiment, and added that the championship would serve as an opportunity to see how her game compares to those of older players.
“Well first, just signing up for the practice rounds and seeing you’re with all these collegiate players, there’s an exciting feeling and now I’ll be able to get out there and see how my game stacks up against theirs,” Abramson said. “I know I’m playing with a UCLA girl and a Michigan State girl in my practice rounds and I’m gonna ask them about the college experience and see how I can learn from their games.”
It’s been a successful summer already for Smith and Abramson, who rank third and eighth, respectively, in the Anne Marie Tobin Player of the Year standings.
Smith finished fourth in the women’s division at the Ouimet Memorial Tournament last week, shooting the lowest score in the division on Day 1 and the second-lowest on Day 3.
Smith tied for third at the New England Women’s Amateur Championship in June after successfully managing the challenging terrain at the Country Club of Vermont. Smith also won the Mixed Four-Ball Championship with her father Phil for the second year in a row in May. She was the first alternate in qualifying at Worcester Country Club for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship and nearly qualified for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, which had an all-male field.
Abramson made a statement of her own with a win at the Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship Powered by KOHR Golf on Tuesday, battling a competitive field to capture her first Championship Division title at a Mass Golf competition. In June, she finished third at the Women’s Stroke Play Championship in June at The Ridge Club, her home course. She also logged a second-place finish at the Massachusetts High School Girls’ Golf Championship earlier this summer.
Heading into the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Abramson is pleased with how she’s been playing recently.
“I’ve been working really hard the past couple of weeks,” Abramson said after her Girls’ Junior win. “My last tournament was the Am qualifier, so I’ve had a couple weeks’ break to really hone in my game, and to come out here and shoot under par for two days, which is something I’ve never done, it’s gonna bode well for the upcoming week.”
She’s also been game-planning for how she will handle Chambers Bay, a challenging Links-style course that was host to the 2015 U.S. Open Championship.
“So [for] practice rounds, we’re gonna use a local caddy and get good insight for the course,” Abramson said. “And then for the real rounds, Dad’s gonna be on the bag because he was great with me in the Am qualifier, so it’s good to have someone I can really trust with my game after I gain some course insight. I’m just gonna have to roll with what we get out there, just to be there is really exciting.”
There are 156 golfers in the field for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, with an average competitor age of 19.96 years. The youngest competitors are 13-year-old California natives Anna Fang and Alice Ziyi Zhao, while the oldest are 60-year-olds Martha Leach of Kentucky and Ellen Port of Missouri.
There are 34 states and 14 countries represented in the championship proper.
Nine previous USGA Champions will compete, including 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion Jensen Castle. Port, a seven-time USGA Champion, and Lara Tennant, a three-time champion in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, are the only competitors with multiple USGA titles to their names.
Port also has the most U.S. Women’s Amateur experience in the field with 24 previous appearances.
There are eight golfers who are currently ranked at the top of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®, including No. 3 Rachel Heck, No. 6 Tsubasa Kajitani and No. 9 Emilia Migliaccio.
The field also features a number of collegiate players, with the following schools having three golfers each in the U.S. Women’s Amateur: Illinois, Mississippi State, North Texas, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA and USC.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship is one of the original three championships hosted by the USGA, along with the U.S. Open Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship. It was first contested in 1895 after being assembled at the last minute, with Mrs. Charles H. Brown winning the first U.S. Women’s Amateur title at Shinnecock Hills Club in Southampton, New York. 1895 was the only year the championship was conducted as a stroke-play competition, as it was permanently changed to match-play format the following year.
JoAnne Gunderson Carter sits atop the all-time leaderboard with five wins, contributing to her record eight USGA championship wins. Of late, Danielle Kang, who is now on the LPGA Tour, was the last to defend her title, winning back-to-back in 2010 and 2011 as a teenager. Last year, the University of Kentucky’s Carter defeated Yu-Chiang (Vivian) Hou 2-and-1.
The last time the championship was held in Massachusetts was 1997, when Brae Burn Country Club was the site of Silvia Cavalleri’s 5-and-4 defeat of Robin Burke.
The 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship is the fourth USGA Championship hosted at Chambers Bay. The course previously hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur, the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and the 2015 U.S. Open — the first U.S. Open in the Pacific Northwest.
Fast facts about Chambers Bay:
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