LOS ANGELES — When the name Stephen Ames comes up, it usually resonates with a not-so-good memory.
Tiger Woods beat Ames 9 and 8 in match play back in 2006, one of the biggest margins of victory in the game’s history. The term has been used when someone has a big victory in match play since.
And, well, there was a Stephen Ames situation Friday at the 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Bel-Air Country Club.
Quarterfinal matches teed off Friday afternoon, and among them was a dominant victory and a handful of tight matches. Among the semifinalists remains plenty of star power, including a past NCAA champion.
U.S. Women’s Amateur: Photos
Here’s everything you need to know from the quarterfinals of the 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Rachel Heck back in the semifinals
Rachel Heck hasn’t been this confident since the winter of her sophomore season.
That’s right before she got sick, which hampered her spring and into the summer, too. Then her junior year at Stanford is when she got injured, missing a majority of the year.
As previously mentioned, Heck had no idea what to expect coming into the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Now she’s into the semifinals for the second time in three years.
The ninth-seeded Heck dominated Friday afternoon, topping No. 16 Catherine Rao 8 and 6 in a match she said went smoother than any in her past. Heck won eight of the 12 holes she played and is into the semifinals, where she was in 2021 when she lost to eventual champion Jensen Castle. What did she learn that week?
“Just having that experience is really key to dealing with that pressure,” Heck said. “It’s a long week. You get tired, you get stressed out, so having been in that position, I think it’s going to be really helpful.”
Heck and Rao halved the first two holes before the former rattled off six straight wins to go 6 up through 8. Then she won the par-3 10th and the par-4 12th to end the match.
Latanna Stone continues through gauntlet
Latanna Stone the tournament’s No. 45 seed, has gone through a gauntlet to get into the semifinals.
In the Round of 64, she beat Amari Avery, who’s ranked 10th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. On Thursday morning, she topped Rachel Kuehn, who’s seventh. Then Thursday afternoon, she beat 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Yana Wilson in extra holes.
And on Friday in the quarterfinals, she took down another former USGA champion, No. 53-seed Thienna Huyhn, winning 3 and 2.
Stone played in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur when she was 10. This is her first semifinal appearance.
“I remember playing with Lydia Ko in my practice round,” Stone said of her first appearance. “I remember it was just such a blur. And then to be here now in the semifinals.
“I have a different mindset this week. I don’t know what it’s like, I just think that something is clicking up there. I’m just so grateful, not taking any moment for granted.”
Hailey Borja making special run
Hailey Borja has been a part of the USGA in numerous ways this summer.
She spent time at Los Angeles Country Club during the U.S. Open as a USGA Pathways intern. Now, about a mile away at Bel-Air, Borja, the No. 7 seed, is into the semifinals at the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
“This is actually the only course in LA that I had not been,” Borja said.
Safe to say she has familiarized herself with it well.
“My putting really saved me today,” Borja said. “They’re hard greens, and I got really lucky with a lot of putts.”
Last year, Michigan teammate Monet Chun made it into the championship match at Chambers Bay. Borja is hoping to find herself in a similar position come Sunday.
“The last couple years, we’ve always been the underdog,” Borja said. “We’ve got great coaches over there, a great community and lots of support. I think that’s what has really helped.”
Megan Schofill holds off Anna Davis
The highest-ranked amateur in the field is heading home.
Megan Schofill, a fifth-year at Auburn and the match play bracket’s No. 6 seed, took out Auburn commit Anna Davis 2 and 1, winning the 16th and 17th holes to clinch her ticket to the semifinals. Schofill won the first hole of the match, then the duo halved the next 13 before Davis, seeded 46th but ranked fifth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, tied it up on the par-4 15th.
However, Schofill bounced back and won consecutive holes to clinch the victory. She is the highest remaining seed left in the field.
Saturday’s semifinal matchups
No. 9 Rachel Heck vs. No. 45 Latanna Stone, 1:45 p.m. ET
No. 7 Hailey Borja vs. No. 6 Megan Schofill, 1:55 p.m. ET
The winners advance to Sunday’s final.
TV, streaming information
Saturday, Aug. 12 (Semifinals)
3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel, Peacock)
Sunday, Aug. 13 (Championship match)
7-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel, Peacock)