July 17, 2007
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. - For the second straight year, former Gonzaga University golfer Mary Kate Morgan has qualified for match play at the 105th North & South Women's Amateur, but her first-round match Wednesday will put her to the real test.
Morgan, who graduated in May and is playing out of her hometown of Longview, Wash., shot a second-round 77 to go with an opening round 75 for a 36-hole score of 152 to finish in an 8-way tie for 33rd. She's seeded 41st heading into match play.
Her Wednesday opponent at 8:26 a.m. EDT will be Amanda Blumenherst, a junior-to-be at three-time NCAA Division I champion Duke University. Blumenherst, from Scottsdale, Ariz., finished fourth in the NCAA Tournament this past spring. She is the fourth seed.
The field of 154 golfers was cut to 63 after 36 holes of qualifying, defending champion Jenny Suh of Fairfax, Va., is automatically seeded into match play.
Monday's round was played at Pinehurst No. 8, with Tuesday's stroke play and the entire match play schedule slated for historic Pinehurst No. 2, a 6,472-yard, par 73 layout.
Starting Tuesday's final 18 holes, 10 players were at even par or better, including top amateur Stacy Lewis of The Woodlands, Texas, and No. 2 amateur Candace Schepperle of Birmingham, Ala. Blumenherst and seven others were at minus one.
After a fiery first round 68, Schepperle started day two slowly, doubling the second hole and finishing the front nine one over par. Schepperle continued her play finishing the fifteenth hole at one over par before finding some of the previous day's form; making birdie on two of her last three holes and finishing the day with a 1-under par 72. Schepperle's two-day total was good enough to secure medalist honors and the No. 2 seed.
Alison Walshe of Westford Mass., after an opening-round 70, started her second round bogeying the first hole. Walshe birdied three of her next eight holes and finished the front nine 2-under par. Walshe continued form on the back nine with birdies at 13, 14 and 16, but made a double bogey on the 17th to close her round with an even par 36, a 71 for round two and a 36-hole total of 141 placing her one behind Schepperle.
After a round one 73 and an opening hole bogey, Blumenherst found herself on the second tee of round two several shots out of the lead. Blumenherst found the form that allowed her to become the top collegiate player in the country. Making three birdies and one bogey she finished her front nine with a 1-under par 36 and carried that momentum to her back nine, making four birdies and one bogey. Blumenherst finished round two with a 69 and a two-day total of 142.
The Championship will end with the 105th Women's North & South Champion being crowned Sunday following a 36-hole final match.