July 18, 2006
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. - What a difference a year makes.
And in the case of Gonzaga University senior Mary Kate Morgan it made quite a difference.
Last year the Longview, Wash., native failed to make the match-play cut of the North and South Women's Amateur Championship at historic Pinehurst, putting together rounds of 87-85 for a 172, well off the match play qualifying of 157.
Tuesday, however, Morgan completed her 36-hole qualifying with a 3-over par 76 on Course No. 2, a 6,472-yard, par 73 course, regarded as the toughest at Pinehurst. That left her in a four-way tie for 26th at 150 following Monday's opening round of 74 on Course No. 8, a 6,253-yard, par 72 layout that advanced her to Wednesday's match play of the 104th event.
She will be seeded 28th heading into match play and will face 37th seed Jeehae Lee of Newhaven, Conn., who shot a qualifying score of 153. The cut for the 63 qualifying spots for match play was 156, with defending champion Ya-Ni Tseng of Taiwan automatically seeded into match play as the 64th golfer in the match play field.
Even with the harsh conditions, to include stifling heat, and soggy humidity, the golf did not disappoint with seven of the top 10 qualifying scores coming in under par.
Leading the field at the end of the qualifying rounds, and claiming medalist honors, is No. 3 ranked amateur Jennie Lee. Lee began her second round of qualifying with two birdies in her first two holes, only to be matched by two birdies to close out an opening nine of 32, the best nine in qualifying. Jennie also claims, outside of the obvious 36 hole low total, a tie for the low round of qualifying carding a 69 during Tuesday's round on Course No. 2. Six players tied for second at 144.
Participants for the event were selected by invitation, the field determined based upon a potential contestant's playing reputation as well as performance in national amateur championships and overall competitive record. The maximum field is 156 contestants.