No. 2 seeds Englemann, Heck roar into Women's 4-Ball semis
 

No. 2 seeds Englemann, Heck roar into Women's 4-Ball semis

Isabella Rawl and Karlee Vardas of Lexington, S.C., bow out in quarterfinals

05/01/2019
Metro Golf Notes Story Courtesy of USGA
image (Photos by Steven Gibbons/copyright USGA)
Alexa Pano (left) and Amari Avery celebrate their quarterfinal victory in the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- No. 2-seeded Sadie Englemann, of Austin, Texas, and Rachel Heck, of Memphis, Tenn., earned two impressive match-play victories on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the 5th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Timuquana Country Club.

They will meet a tandem from the championship’s host state of Florida, No. 27-seeded Jillian Bourdage, of Tamarac, and Casey Weidenfeld, of Pembroke Pines, at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday.

Bourdage and Weidenfeld ousted the defending champions, Katrina Prendergast and Ellen Secor in 20 holes on Tuesday morning before holding off Thienna Huynh and Sara Im, 3 and 1, in the afternoon.

The four players will be familiar with each other, having played together in Saturday and Sunday stroke-play rounds. Englemann, 16, and Heck, 17, who will attend Stanford University starting in 2020, have not had to play past the 15th hole in their three match-play victories, earning a 4-and-3 win on Tuesday morning over Haylin Harris and Valery Plata, both of Michigan State, and a 6-and-5 afternoon win over No. 7 Isabella Rawl and Karlee Vardas.

“I think we played well when the other person was down,” said Englemann, who was co-medalist in the 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior. “We never really played bad together, which was really important in both matches.”

Rawl and Vardas (photo), both of Lexington, S.C., advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Texans Melena Barrientos and Calynne Rosholt. Rawls and Vardas were the last two Carolinas golfers in the draw.

No. 5-seeded Megan Furtney, of South Elgin, Ill., and Erica Shepherd, of Greenwood, Ind., survived in 19 holes over Caroline Curtis and Ashley Gilliam on Tuesday afternoon to advance to their second consecutive semifinals, where they hope to improve upon their 2018 loss to Prendergast and Secor.

“We’re really good friends with Ashley and Caroline, and we actually never played such good friends in match play,” said Shepherd, 18, the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion. “That was definitely an adjustment. We all started off kind of slow, and then we got it going down the stretch, and it got pretty intense.”

Curtis, of Richmond, Va., birdied No. 18 to force extra holes, but Shepherd responded with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first hole to earn the victory.

“I was expecting it,” said Furtney of Curtis’ birdie on No. 18. “I think in match play you have to expect your opponent to always play the best and make every putt they have.”

Furtney and Shepherd will take on No. 8 seeds Amari Avery and Alexa Pano, who prevailed in 21 holes in the morning over Cory Lopez and Avery Zweig, 12, the championship’s youngest competitor. Avery and Pano ousted Whitney and Avery French, 5 and 3, the oldest remaining side at 28 and 24, respectively, in the quarterfinals.

“They didn’t miss a shot, so it was tough,” said Whitney French, of Monarch Beach, Calif., who advanced past the Round of 32 with her sister for the first time in three tries. “Each round that we won was just the cherry on top.”

For Shepherd and Furtney, the memory of last year provides motivation.

“We’re definitely still upset about what happened last year,” said Shepherd. “I think we have a little… we’re seeking revenge this year.” 

Notable

The sister duo of Whitney and Avery French are making up for lost time, having only started playing much golf together after Avery finished college two years ago. Whitney, 28, is five school years ahead of her sister, so they never competed on a team together, and Whitney mostly played with their father, Alan, growing up. They competed in their third U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball this week and made their deepest run. “This is fun because it’s a family event for us,” said Avery, 24, who played at California-Irvine. “Our whole family gets to come out, watch us, be on the bag with us. We were just so excited to be here because it’s our vacation really. We have a different mindset now.” “We love USGA events,” said Whitney, who played at Oregon State. “They’re the nicest-run, they’re fun to play and you’re with great golfers, always on a great course. Everyone is rooting for you and it’s so amazing. We’re still leaving happy even though we lost.”

There have been four extra-hole matches this year, which equals the number from 2016 and 2018. This year’s championship also features the longest match in Women’s Amateur Four-Ball history, Monday’s 22-hole victory by Isabella Rawl and Karlee Vardas over 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Shannon Johnson and Megan Buck.

The average age of the championship field at the start of the week was 20.3 years, the youngest in its five years. That average has dropped in ensuing rounds, to 18.1 for the Round of 32; to 16.8 for the Round of 16, and to 16.4 for the semifinal round. 

Round of 16 

Avery French, Laguna Niguel, Calif. & Whitney French, Monarch Beach, Calif. def.  Isabella Van Der Biest, Kingsport, Tenn. & Sophia Burnett, Blufton, S.C.  1 up

Amari Avery, Riverside, Calif. & Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Fla. def. Cory Lopez, Mexico & Avery Zweig, McKinney, Texas  21 holes

Caroline Curtis, Richmond, Va. & Ashley Gilliam, Manchester, Tenn. def.  Madison Hewlett, Oldsmar, Fla. & Jacqueline Putrino, Sarasota, Fla.  2 and 1

Megan Furtney, South Elgin, Ill. & Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind. def.  Sophie Linder, Carthage, Tenn. & Karoline Tuttle, Lake Mary, Fla.  3 and 2

Sadie Englemann, Austin, Texas & Rachel Heck  Memphis, Tenn. def.  Haylin Harris, Carmel, Ind. & Valery Plata, Colombia  4 and 3

Isabella Rawl, Lexington, S.C. &  Karlee Vardas, Lexington, S.C. def.  Melena Barrientos, Plano, Texas & Calynne Rosholt, Cedar Park, Texas  2 and 1

Thienna Huynh, Lilburn, Ga. & Sara Im, Duluth, Ga. def. Lauren Gomez, San Diego, Calif. & Olivia Yun, Carlsbad, Calif.  3 and 2

Jillian Bourdage, Tamrac, Fla. & Casey Weidenfeld, Pembroke Pines, Fla. def. Katrina Prendergast, Sparks, Nev. & Ellen Secor, Portland, Ore.  20 holes 

Quarterfinals

Amari Avery, Riverside, Calif. & Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Fla. def. Avery French, Laguna Niguel, Calif. &  Whitney French, Monarch Beach, Calif. 5 and 3

Megan Furtney, South Elgin, Ill. & Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind. def. Caroline Curtis, Richmond, Va. & Ashley Gilliam, Manchester, Tenn. 19 holes

Sadie Englemann, Austin, Texas & Rachel Heck, Memphis, Tenn. def. Isabella Rawl, Lexington, S.C. & Karlee Vardas, Lexington, S.C. 6 and 5

Jillian Bourdage, Tamrac, Fla. & Casey Weidenfeld, Pembroke Pines, Fla. def. Thienna Huynh, Lilburn, Ga. & Sara Im, Duluth, Ga. 3 and 1 

Wednesday’s Tee Times

7:30 a.m. - Amari Avery, Riverside, Calif. & Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Fla.  vs. Megan Furtney, South Elgin, Ill. & Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind.

7:45 a.m. - Sadie Englemann, Austin, Texas & Rachel Heck, Memphis, Tenn.  vs. Jillian Bourdage, Tamarac, Fla. & Casey Weidenfeld, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

 
 
 
 
 
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