19th-hole birdie gives former Parker resident Wang a round-of-64 victory over Westminster’s Kupcho at U.S. Women’s Amateur
by Gary Baines
What are the odds?
Two players with strong Colorado connections made match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, and when the bracket came together, they were paired against one another in the first round.
That was the situation at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston, where Jennifer Kupcho of Westminster and former Parker resident Elizabeth Wang squared off in the round of 64. The two crossed paths on several occasions during their early junior golf careers in Colorado — Wang moved from Colorado to San Marino, Calif. in 2010 — but that was obviously a while ago as Kupcho is now 21 and Wang 18. (Before she moved, Wang won the inaugural girls 10 & Under Junior Series Championship in Colorado in 2008.)
When they were thrown together on Wednesday, Kupcho (left in a USGA photo) had the upper hand much of the day, but Wang birdied the 19th hole from 10 feet to advance to the round of 32.
“Jennifer is an amazing player, and actually we knew each other because I used to live in Colorado, so we always played junior tournaments together,” Wang said. “It was great to be able to play with a friend, especially since we only see each other once a year now for amateur tournaments.”
Kupcho, the NCAA Division I individual champion from Wake Forest, never trailed for the first 18 holes against Wang, the 2015 national Girls Junior PGA Champion who finished 34th in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open. Kupcho, the No. 2-ranked women’s amateur in the world, was 2 up after 11 holes. But Wang won No. 12 with a par and No. 14 with a bogey.
The players then halved each of the final four holes of regulation — with pars on three occasions and birdies on 17 — to force “overtime.” The birdie on 17 was the first of the day for Kupcho and the second for Wang.
Then the birdie on the 19th hole put Wang ahead for the first time — and gave her the victory.
For Kupcho, who likely was competing in her final U.S. Women’s Amateur as she’s a senior-to-be at Wake Forest, it marked the second consecutive year she’s lost in the match play round of 64 at this championship.
Kupcho finished 3 over par for 19 holes on Monday, while the 19th-hole birdie made Wang 2 over for the match.
With the win, the Harvard-bound Wang will face 17-year-old Megan Schofill of Monticello, Fla., in Thursday’s round of 32. Schofill defeated German Sophie Hausmann on the 19th hole with a birdie.
Here are the scores for all the players with strong Colorado connections competing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur:
Round of 64
Former Coloradan Elizabeth Wang of San Marino, Calif. def. Jennifer Kupcho of Westminster, 19 holes
Advanced to Match Play
15. Former Parker resident Elizabeth Wang 70-69–139
39. Jennifer Kupcho of Westminster 70-72–142
Failed to Advance to Match Play
133. CU golfer Gillian Vance of Lakewood 75-79–154
133. Former Denver resident Emily Gilbreth 76-78–154
139. DU golfer Mary Weinstein of Highlands Ranch 80-75–155
For all the scores from the U.S. Women’s Amateur, CLICK HERE.