Hannah O’Sullivan and Sierra Brooks beat fellow teenagers Saturday to advance to the U.S. Women’s Amateur final.
The 17-year-old O’Sullivan, from Chandler, Arizona, rallied to beat 17-year-old Mathilda Cappeliez of France, 1 up at Portland Golf Club, and the 17-year-old Brooks, from Sorrento, Florida, topped 18-year-old UCLA freshman Bethany Wu of Diamond Bar, California.
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"We’ve both grown up together and we’re both really good at golf, so it’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow," O’Sullivan said. "It’s really an incredible experience."
Three holes down after eight, O’Sullivan won Nos. 9, 10, 12 and 14 to take a 1-up lead. Cappeliez tied it with a par on the par-4 16th after O’Sullivan hit her approach in the water. O’Sullivan took the par-3 17th with a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe and won with a halve on the par-5 18th.
"I guess I didn’t really think that much while I was over the putt," O’Sullivan said about her putt on 17. "I just picked my target and stroked it, and to see it go in was incredible."
O’Sullivan, 10th in the world amateur ranking, won the Symetra Tour’s Gateway Classic in February at 16 to become the youngest winner in the history of the professional circuit. In May, she teamed with Robynn Ree to finish second in the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes.
"(O’Sullivan is) a very solid player," Brooks said. "Ball-striking-wise, she hits it dead straight almost every time, and anywhere inside 10 to 5 feet, it’s going in. It’ll definitely be a tough match."
"It’s so tough playing my best friend, because I’m rooting for her when I’m out there, too," said Brooks, ranked fifth. "I really don’t want to see her struggle at all, and I know she had a bit of a tough day, so that was hard to watch. But I definitely played really solid. It’s bittersweet."
O’Sullivan and Brooks earned exemptions into the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open.