UCLA’s Brianna Do won the Women’s U.S. Amateur Public Links on Saturday, rallying to beat Texas high school star Marissa Dodd 1-up in the 36-hole final on Bandon Dunes’ Old Macdonald course.
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”It means a lot,” said Do, who wasn’t a member of the five-player UCLA squad that won the NCAA title in May. ”I mean, it’s a national championship and not to bring down the win of the UCLA team, but the five that played at that tournament kind of have a different meaning with that national championship, because they were part of it. They played in it, and this one is kind of my own. … This is kind of my national championship.”
The 21-year-old Do, born in Lakewood, Calif., but representing her parents’ home country of Vietnam in the event, was 3-down after 22 holes, then won the next three holes to tie it.
”Mentally, I was at that point, I was like, ‘OK, let’s try not to lose by a really big margin,’ ” Do said. ”It’s probably not the way to think, but that’s how I was thinking.
”I hit some really good shots after I was 3-down, and I had some really good opportunities. I just took advantage and got it back to all square, and then I kept it around being 1-down or 1-up.”
Dodd, the 17-year-old from Allen, Texas, who has committed to play for Wake Forest in the fall, took a 1-up lead on No. 30. Do tied it with a 4-foot birdie putt on the 35th and won with a conceded par on the 36th.
”The last two holes is where it counted,” Do said. ”My putting kind of showed up on those two holes.”
Dodd, with her father, Mark, as her caddie and her mother, sister, grandparents and many other family and friends in the gallery, shed a few tears after missing her final putt.
”Happy tears, sad tears,” Dodd said. ”It was all really good, though. I had so much fun. I had a blast out here with my dad and everybody who came out here to watch me. I really appreciate it all and had a great time.”
Do became the second UCLA player in three years to win the title, joining Tiffany Joh, the 2006 and 2008 champion. Mary Enright, also a former UCLA player, won in 1981.
Both finalist earned spots in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in August in Rhode Island. Do also is exempt into the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The tournament is limited to players who don’t hold privileges at any course that doesn’t extend playing privileges to the general public.