A scorecard knows no age. And Angela Zhang of Bellevue, Wash. and Alice Zhao are proving that at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, being held this week at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.
The pair of 14-year-olds have teamed up to continue their improbable march through the match-play bracket. And they are showing no fear, particularly in today’s two matches, the morning Round of 16 and this afternoon’s quarterfinals.
In the Round of 16, Zhang was a juggernaut, making eight birdies during the 16 holes of the match. She and Zhao closed out Anna Kate Nichols and Avery Weed, 3 and 2, but it wasn’t really even that close. Zhao had birdied the par-4 15th to put her and Zhang 3-up with three to play, and when Zhang dropped yet another birdie on the par-5 16th, the match was over.
“Angela basically made everything,” Zhao said of the morning match. “I didn’t have to putt too much.”
Zhang started the afternoon quarterfinal match the same way, dropping a 15-foot birdie, but it was matched by Ami Gianchandani’s 10-foot birdie. Gianchandani and her partner Kaitlyn Lee quickly built a 2-up lead after three holes. Earlier in the day, Gianchandani and Lee had easily defeated Kaitlyn Schroeder and Bailey Shoemaker, 4 and 3, in the Round of 16. Schroeder and Shoemaker were runners-up in last year’s championship, and were no pushovers for Gianchandani and Lee.
But Zhang birdied holes seven and eight to tie the match. After falling behind a hole, Zhao birdied 15 and Zhang birdied 16 to go 1-up. The sides traded pars on 17 and 18, and the match was over.
Over 34 holes in today’s matches, Zhang made 13 birdies.
The magic at The Home Course continues for Zhang and Zhao. They were one of seven co-medalists heading into the championship’s match-play bracket. Back on Sept 28, 2022, the duo combined for a 7-under 65 to earn medalist honors at a qualifier for this championship that was held on the course. Then last month, Zhang set the women’s course record at The Home Course, firing a 7-under 65 in the first round of the Washington Women’s Champion of Champions, on her way to winning that championship by 11 strokes.
They will face Tiffany Le and Kate Villegas in Wednesday’s semifinal match, teeing off at 7:00am.
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Eight sides (or teams) from the Pacific Northwest started in the field, and four advanced into match play.
The semifinal and final matches will be held on Wednesday.
Who else from the Northwest is moving on to the semifinals:
Anna Huang of Vancouver, B.C. and Leigh Chien of Irvine, Calif. defeated the defending champions, Thienna Huynh and Sara Im, 1-up, in this afternoon’s quarterfinals. They will face Gianna Clemente and Avery Zweig in the semifinals, teeing off at 7:15am.
At age 14, Huang is one of the youngest competitors in this year’s field. Her notable results include a T4 finish at the Canadian Junior, a T22 finish at the Canadian Women’s Amateur, a victory at the Toyota Tour Cup and a T3 finish a the NextGen Selection Camp. She was selected to play on Team Canada in the 2022 World Junior Girls’ Championship.
This is the fourth USGA national championship conducted at The Home Course, which is cooperatively owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and Washington Golf. Set up at 6,487 yards, The Home Course will be played as the longest course in the history of this national championship.
Admission to the championship is free and spectators are encouraged. Come on out and watch some great golf.