KUPCHO HOLDS ONE-STROKE LEAD OVER FASSI, CHAMPIONSHIP MOVES TO AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB
For Release: 4/4/19
30 players advance to Saturday’s final round AUGUSTA, Ga. – World number one Jennifer Kupcho maintained her position atop the leader board with a one-under-par 71 in Thursday’s second round of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She holds a one-stroke lead over Mexico’s Maria Fassi as the championship shifts to Augusta National Golf Club for Saturday’s final round.
Kupcho, a senior at Wake Forest and the reigning NCAA champion, was bogey-free through 31 holes at Champions Retreat Golf Club and reached seven under par. She dropped shots, however, on the fifth and eighth holes to finish one-under-par 71 for the day, leaving her at five-under-par 139 after the first 36 holes.
Fassi, Kupcho’s good friend and the 2018 ANNIKA Award winner as the top female collegiate golfer, birdied two of her final three holes to record a second consecutive round of two-under 70 for a four-under-par 140 total through two rounds.
Sierra Brooks (70) and Kaitlyn Papp (69), both of the United States, and Thailand’s Pimnipa Panthong (70), are tied for third place at three-under-par 141.
With the top 30 advancing to the final round on Saturday at Augusta National, there was late drama in store for patrons as 11 players tied for 21st place at three over par through 36 holes. In the playoff, nine players safely negotiated the par-4 10th hole with pars, leaving Ainhoa Olarra of Spain and Alessia Nobilio of Italy fighting for the final place.
Olarra, who works as an auditor in Madrid, grabbed the final spot on the second playoff hole – the par-3 17th – where she rolled in a birdie putt from 25 feet.
The full field of 72 players will have the opportunity to play a practice round at Augusta National on Friday.
The 21-year-old Kupcho and Fassi, a senior at University of Arkansas, have already qualified for the LPGA through last year’s Q-Series, but deferred turning pro until after this year’s NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship in May.
Kupcho started from the 10th tee and negotiated the tougher Bluff Nine at Champions Retreat in two under par with birdies on the par-3 11th and 17th holes. She picked up another stroke on the par-4 first, but she missed a short birdie putt on her 11th hole, the second of the Island Nine, and struggled with her swing after that.
“I started out strong and was hitting the ball really well,” said Kupcho. “After the bogey on the fifth, I was just trying to get through six, honestly – and then the seventh, eighth and ninth were all birdie holes. Obviously, I didn't make any, and I didn't really give myself an opportunity.
“Hopefully, I can go out and figure out what was going on with my swing.”
The long-hitting Fassi averaged 289.2 yards off the tee in the opening round. On Thursday, she eagled the toughest hole on the golf course – the par-5 14th where she chipped in from 40 yards – and made an additional five birdies, but also mixed in five bogeys.
Even though she was not the most accurate with her driver, she felt she held an advantage over the field at Augusta National.
“I knew I had to post an under-par score to be in contention for Saturday, and it was just exciting to see that I made so many birdies,” said the 21-year-old from Pachuca.
“I definitely think my length will help. It allowed me to make the number of birdies that I made here. It also got me in some trouble, but I think at Augusta National, it's going to be really beneficial just to help me hit those high shots that land soft to those greens.”
Zoe Campos (75), the 16-year-old from Valencia, Calif., who jointly led with Kupcho at four-under through the first round, dropped to seventh place at one under par, one shot behind Japan’s Yuka Yasuda (70).
For more information, please visit www.ANWAgolf.com and follow the event’s official social media channels (@ANWAgolf) across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Media inquiries may be directed to Augusta National Golf Club’s Director of Communications, Steve Ethun, who may be reached at 706- 667-6705 or email@example.com
About the Augusta National Women’s Amateur
The Augusta National Women’s Amateur was announced on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, by Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley during his annual press conference at the Masters Tournament. The event was established to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game by creating a new, exciting and rewarding pathway for these players to fulfill their dreams.
The field is limited to 72 of the leading women amateurs in the world, who will compete over 54 holes of stroke play. The first 36 holes will be contested over two days at Champions Retreat Golf Club. Following the 36-hole cut, the final competitive round will feature the top 30 players and will take place at Augusta National Golf Club the Saturday prior to the Masters Tournament.
Provided she remains an amateur, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion will receive an invitation to the next five Augusta National Women’s Amateurs, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2019 Women’s British Open, and any USGA, R&A and PGA of America amateur championships for which she is eligible for one year.
NBC Sports will produce and broadcast three hours of live final-round coverage of the event, which is being supported by five presenting partners: AT&T, Bank of America, IBM, Mercedes-Benz and Rolex.