PUEBLO, Colo. -- Texas sophomore women's golfer Kelley Louth opened the first round of match play at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links (WAPL) by defeating Veronique Drouin, 3-and-1, to advance to the round of 32 in Pueblo, Colo. The Walking Stick Golf Course (Par 72, 6,263 yards) is the 2006 host for the six-day championship.
Play was suspended for the second consecutive day at the WAPL due to lightning storms. The competition was delayed for just over an hour, but was resumed in time for all 32 matches to be completed.
In a USGA amateur championship, there are two days of stroke play qualifying to determine the 64 players who will make it to match play. The players are seeded according to how they played during stroke play. The winners of each match keep advancing until there is only one player left. With 64 players, this occurs after six matches.
There were originally 144 individuals competing from 40 sectional events at the WAPL. The event is open to female golfers who have been public-course players since Jan. 1 of the current championship year and whose USGA Handicap Index does not exceed 18.4. The WAPL is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Louth (Victoria, Texas), making her first career trip to the WAPL, opened the match play round by defeating Drouin (Athens, Ga.), an assistant women's golf coach from The University of Georgia. Louth and Drouin began their match all square through the first five holes until Louth recorded a birdie on the par-three sixth to put Drouin behind by one hole. Louth also won holes No. 7 and No. 8 to sit three-up before lightning caused the a 64-minute delay.
When play resumed, Drouin won holes No. 9 and No. 10 to come within one hole of Louth with eight holes left to play. Both carded pars on holes 11 and 12, then Louth gained another hole advantage when Drouin double-bogeyed the par-five 13th. Louth slipped with a double-bogey of her own at No. 14, but closed out the round winning two of the final three holes to take the match 3-and-1.
Louth will face Angela Oh of Maple Shade, N.J. Friday (June 23) at 8:50 a.m. (MDT). Oh, who finished tied for seventh (70-72=142, -2) in the stoke play qualifying, defeated Hillary Zeigler, Beaumont, Texas, 4-and-3, in her opening match.
The winner will face Selanee Henderson, Apple Valley, Calif. or Diane Kwon, Fremont, Calif. also on Friday in order to advance to quarterfinals. The quarterfinals and semifinals of the WAPL will take place on Saturday (June 24) and the 36-hole final is held on Sunday (June 25).