LOS ANGELES — The drama and intensity picked up in a big way Wednesday at Bel-Air Country Club.
Players got a little bit of everything from the weather Wednesday. Early-morning clouds gave way to plenty of midday sun with some afternoon showers, as well. However, that rain didn’t damper any of the excitement from the Round of 64 in match play, with plenty of matches going to extra holes and upsets across the board.
U.S. Women’s Amateur: Photos
Kiara Romero, the 12th seed who three weeks ago won the U.S. Girls’ Junior, is one of the big names heading home early after falling to Thienna Huyhn. However, only two of the top 10 seeds were knocked out, and plenty of stars remain in Hollywood.
Here’s everything you need to know from the Round of 64 at the 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur, including best Round of 32 matchups and TV information for Thursday.
Before Briana Chacon began her Round of 64 match, she was presented with a medal.
Although it’s not the major trophy players are gunning for at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, the medal signified Chacon winning the stroke-play portion, which she did in record-setting fashion, and earning the top seed for match play.
“I didn’t know I was going to get it right then,” Chacon said. “It was pretty cool. It’s an honor.”
The medal wasn’t a distraction, as Chacon came out and won the first hole, and she won again on the par-5 first when she and Olivia Duan played it again after being tied through 18 holes, giving Chacon the win. The medalist was 2 down with six holes to play but rallied to advance to the Round of 32.
Chacon birdied the par-5 14th to tie the match, her second straight win, and played essentially mistake free down the stretch. On the par-4 17th, her drive leaked right, even forcing Chacon to hit a provisional, but she found it and hit a great punch shot that ended up closer to the hole than Duan’s.
“I knew if I didn’t make any more mistakes, something was going to happen,” Chacon said.
Chacon will face Catie Craig in the second round. Craig beat Julia Misemer 1 up on Wednesday.
Teenager knocks out past champion
Gianna Clemente and Jensen Castle got to know each other well this week.
The duo were paired together in the first two rounds of stroke play at Bel-Air. Clemente, coming off a win at the Junior PGA Championship last week, earned the third seed. Castle was in the playoff Wednesday morning and advanced, getting the 62nd seed.
Two years ago, Castle advanced out of a playoff as the No. 63 seed and won the U.S. Amateur. She was the only past champion in the field.
However, it’s Clemente moving on. She topped Castle, 4 and 3, dominating on the back nine to clinch control.
They alternated winning holes the first sixth, with Castle winning the opening par 5 and then swapping wins the next five. Clemente won the ninth hole, then Castle grabbed the 10th but Clemente went on a tear, winning four straight before a halve on the 15th ended the match.
Lignell carries own bag
Players carrying their own bags is nothing new in college. However, in the biggest amateur events, they almost always have caddies, whether it’s a coach, parents or a local one.
Andrea Lignell had none of those. She had herself.
“It was my choice,” Lignell said. “I was going to have my coach as my caddie but he needed to go on a recruiting trip, so I just decided to go on my own.”
Lignell, an incoming fifth-year at Ole Miss, carried her own bag in stroke play and earned the second seed for match play. She was tied with Chacon until a mistake on her final hole Tuesday resulted in a double bogey.
Come Wednesday, Lignell won her first hole against Charlotte Cantonis, a junior in high school, but Cantonis went on a roll after, topping Lignell 4 and 3 in the upset of the day.
But don’t expect Lignell to use her bag as an excuse.
“I mean, we do it in college every day, so, yeah, I’m used to it,” she said.
Cantonis will face Lauren Lehigh in the Round of 32 on Thursday morning.
Latanna Stone tops Amari Avery
One of the biggest matchups in the Round of 64 was LSU’s Latanna Stone battling USC’s Amari Avery.
Avery was the third-highest ranked player in the field, coming in at No. 10 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Stone is 34th. However, it was the Tiger taking down the Trojan in the battle of good friends.
Stone was 2 down after the first two holes but tied it up after the sixth. Then she took the lead for good on the seventh, in a stretch of four straight victories. Ultimately, Stone, the 45th seed, took down Avery 2 and 1.
“We’re both out there to win, but we’re really good friends at the same time,” Stone said. “We were both on Curtis Cup and been friends since the we were little, too. So it was really hard. I feel for her. I mean, we’re all out here to do one thing though, and get the job done.”
Former U.S. Girls’ champ has big victory
There was no separation between Yana Wilson and Ellie Szeryk through their first seven holes.
That all quickly changed on the par-5 eighth. Wilson took a 1 up lead after Szeryk three putted. Wilson, the 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior winner, won the next hole in similar fashion.
Wilson won five straight holes and six in seven, the last victory being enough for a 6 and 4 victory over Szeryk. Wilson will face fourth-seeded Katie Cranston in the Round of 32.
“I started off kind of slow,” Wilson said. “Couple pars, made a birdie, and made one bogey on 2. But the momentum kind of started to shift on hole 8 and everything was just kind of going my way I guess. I just felt really confident.”
Best Round of 32 matches
No. 4 Katie Cranston vs. No. 29 Yana Wilson, 10:40 a.m. ET
No. 13 Rachel Kuehn vs. No. 45 Latanna Stone, 10:50 a.m. ET
No. 55 Bailey Shoemaker vs. No. 23 Rianne Malixi, 11:50 a.m. ET
No. 14 Camille Boyd vs. No. 46 Anna Davis, 12:10 p.m. ET
No. 6 Megan Schofill vs. No. 27 Kelly Xu, 12:20 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 10 (Round of 32/Round of 16)
6-9 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Friday, Aug. 11 (Quarterfinals)
6-9 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Saturday, Aug. 12 (Semifinals)
3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Sunday, Aug. 13 (Championship match)
7-10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)