CSU teammates Prendergast and Secor qualify again in Colorado for U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball
by Gary Baines
It’s a habit to which Katrina Prendergast and Ellen Secor could happily become accustomed.
For the second consecutive year, the Colorado State University women’s golf teammates took a break from the college season to qualify in Colorado for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
A year after earning medalist honors at The Ranch Country Club, Prendergast and Secor repeated in that role, this time by shooting a best-ball 6-under-par 66 Tuesday at Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster. (The qualifiers are pictured, with Prendergast at left.)
So, a year after not only making it to the national championship but advancing to the match play round of 16, the two Rams will be headed back in hopes of doing even better. The 2018 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball will be held April 28-May 2 at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.
“The biggest thing is getting redemption,” Secor said on Tuesday. “We played Monica Vaughn (who won the NCAA individual title earlier that month) and Bailey Tardy (now the No. 17 player in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings) — probably the top two amateur players in the country — in the round of 16, and we really want to get redemption and come back and win the (national) Four-Ball. I definitely feel confident, and I know KP does too.”
It will be the third straight trip to the national Women’s Four-Ball for Secor, a CSU sophomore from Portland, Ore., and the second for Prendergast, a junior from Sparks, Nev. And every previous time competing in the event, they’ve made match play. Overall, it will be each player’s sixth USGA championship, also counting U.S. Women’s Amateurs and U.S. Girls’ Juniors.
On Tuesday at Walnut Creek, Prendergast and Secor went bogey-free, making an eagle (on the par-5 sixth hole, their 15th) and four birdies. Prendergast recorded the eagle, hitting a 3-wood from 219 yards to 5 feet and draining the putt. “That (second) was probably one of the best shots I’ve seen anybody hit in a while,” Secor said.
“Ellen (played well) on the front nine and me on the back nine,” said Prendergast, runner-up last month in the Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins. “The eagle really helped boost us. We kind of got it going on the back (playing it in 4 under par). And Ellen finished us off with a birdie on 9, which was our 18th hole. She also made a 25-30 footer on the first hole, which was a great start.”
But Secor was a little concerned when the two Rams were just 2 under par after nine holes.
“I told KP, ‘We’ve got to do something here,'” Secor said. “‘We’ve got to get to 6 under somehow, some way. We started ham-and-egging it.
“KP came up to me after the round and said, ‘I think we’re a pretty dang good team.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, we really ham and egged it today.’ We were killing it today. We had a little fire in our bellies and got it done.”
Finishing second on Tuesday, good for the first alternate position, were Colorado high school sophomores Hailey Schalk and Charlotte Hillary, who made six birdies (including four in a row) and two bogeys en route to a 68.
Tying for third at 72 were Coloradans Amy Chitkoksoong and Morgan Ryan, and CSU teammates Jessica Sloot and Brooke Nolte, with the latter winning a playoff for the second alternate spot. Sloot and Secor teamed up for the national Women’s Four-Ball in 2016.
U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Qualifying
At Par-72 Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster
QUALIFIED FOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Ellen Secor/Katrina Prendergast 66
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Charlotte Hillary/Hailey Schalk 68
Brooke Nolte/Jessica Sloot 72
FAILED TO QUALIFY
Amy Chitkoksoong/Morgan Ryan 72
Caroline Jordaan/Marie Jordaan 75
Katelyn Lehigh/Lauren Lehigh 77
Taylor Dorans/Molly Dorans 78