Canadian teen Brooke Mackenzie Henderson advanced to the U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinals Friday, beating UCLA’s Alison Lee 1 up at Nassau Country Club.
The 16-year-old Henderson, the low amateur in the U.S. Women’s Open, ended the match with a par halve on the par-4 18th. After Henderson won the par-3 16th with a par to take a 2-up lead, the 19-year-old Lee, from Valencia, California, cut it to one with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th.
”That was my first match this week to (reach) 18,” Henderson said. ”Hopefully, the next couple days if I’m up, they finish early, and if I’m down, then we go all the way.”
Henderson, from Smith Falls, Ontario, is trying to become the third Canadian winner in tournament history, following Marlene Stewart in 1956 and Cathy Sherk in 1978.
Henderson will face 16-year-old Hannah O’Sullivan of Paradise Valley, Arizona, a 5-and-4 winner over 21-year-old former Pepperdine player Grace Na of Alameda, California.
”I told myself I can’t lose,” O’Sullivan said. ”I just kept pushing.”
In the other semifinal, 16-year-old Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, will play 15-year-old Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, California. Gillman rallied to beat 18-year-old Su-Hyun Oh of Australia in 20 holes, and Andrea Lee topped 14-year-old Eunjeong Seong of South Korea 2 and 1.
Gillman was 4-down with six holes left. She began the comeback on the par-4 13th, hitting to 3 feet to set up a birdies. Gillman won Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to square the match, and finished off Oh with a 15-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole.
”I told myself that I just needed to get back to what I was doing the other day, just keep trusting in the shots, and just to never give up and keep fighting,” Gillman said. ”I just knew I had to keep trusting in what I was doing and just not second-guess the line I picked out.”
She’s coming off an 11-stroke victory last week in the Junior PGA Championship.
”I guess all the hard work I’ve been putting in throughout the school year is paying off, Gillman said. ”The more I play in tournaments, the more I learn from that, and I just keep taking that to the next tournament.”