Lakareber Abe beat qualifying medalist Bethany Wu 6 and 4 on Wednesday in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Nassau Country Club.
The 18-year-old Abe, an Alabama recruit from Angleton, Texas, is trying to become the first black female individual champion in U.S. Golf Association history.
”It was just smooth sailing,” said Abe, second last year in the U.S. Girls’ Junior. ”I didn’t get too up or too down. Just kind of steady the whole time.”
The 17-year-old Wu, from Diamond Bar, California, became the first top seed to fall in the first round since co-medalist Jihee Kim in 2011.
”I wasn’t hitting it solid,” Wu said. ”After I lost the third hole, it kind of got in my head. I tried to come back so quickly, and it just didn’t work out. Overall, just a terrible day.”
Abe will face Hannah O’Sullivan of Paradise Valley, Arizona, on Thursday. The 16-year-old O’Sullivan beat Gaby Lopez, an Arkansas player from Mexico, 2 up.
O’Sullivan won the last two holes with birdies, chipping in on No. 18.
”I remembered all the chips I’d practiced and I just chipped it in,” O’Sullivan said.
Defending champion Emma Talley, the 20-year-old University of Alabama player from Princeton, Kentucky, edged Jiyoon Jang of Rancho Mirage, California, in 19 holes. Talley set up a second-round match with Princess Mary Superal, the 17-year-old Filipino player who won the U.S. Girls’ Junior last month.
”So far, every day has been better,” Talley said. ”Hopefully, it will continue.”
Superal beat Raegan Bremer of Anaheim, California, 3 and 1.
Brooke Mackenzie Henderson, the 16-year-old Canadian who was the low amateur in the U.S. Women’s Open, routed Mika Liu of Beverly Hills, California, 7 and 5.