BANDON, Ore. – Meghan Stasi and Dawn Woodard each bogeyed five the of the same holes in the first round of stroke-play qualifying at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. They shot even-par 72, but the veteran mid-am players weren’t having any more of it on Day 2.
Their remedy: Ham and eggs for breakfast. (Caddies, too.)
Perhaps the real thing would produce a more ham-and-egg style of play, they figured.
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Stasi, 36, and Woodard, 40, bogeyed two holes on May 10, putting them safely into match play with a 1-under 143 total.
As a team they are 1-0 playing together, winning the 2009 International Four-Ball. Stasi is a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Am champion while Woodard has won numerous state titles in South Carolina and is a mother of three girls ages 16, 14 and 12.
“They’re younger than I thought they’d be,” said Woodard of the competition. “I have kids that are older.”
Rinko Mitsunaga got her application in for the Four-Ball 15 minutes before the deadline. Good thing, as she and partner Mika Liu cruised into match play at T-10 after a second-round 68.
Liu and Mitsunaga are in the same practice group, led by Andrew Oliphant, at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Mitsunaga, 18, will play for Georgia next fall and won the Kathy Whitworth Invitational last March. Liu, 16, took two impressive titles last summer – the Women’s Western Amateur and Southern Amateur – to earn an invitation into the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration.
It’s not difficult to see where the smiley Liu gets her drive. Her oldest brother Seiji played golf at Harvard and now works for JP Morgan in New York. Her oldest sister, Marika, is a senior on the Yale golf team while her youngest brother, Seiya, will compete for Harvard next fall. Mika has committed to Stanford.
“It’s a prodigy family,” said Mitsunaga.
Liu’s father, Stephen, moved to the U.S. from Taiwan at age 11 and was a team doctor for the ULCA Bruins. Her mother, Machi, came to the U.S. from Japan at age 16.
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The Mexican team of Maria Fassi and Maria Balcazar make the best kind of Four-Ball team because they couldn’t be more different.
Fassi hits it hard and plays aggressively. Balcazar is the steady one, always finding the fairway. Balcazar calms them down, and Fassi pumps them up.
They live a plane ride apart in Mexico but talk constantly. They share the same instructor and the same fitness coach. Fassi is ranked No. 1 in Mexico while Balcazar is No. 2. Both will be seniors in high school next fall. Fassi has committed to Arkansas and Balcazar has it narrowed down to Maryland, Baylor and Texas A&M.
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Lynn Thompson made a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole (No. 8) to assure that she and parter Janie Klare would move on to match play. Three teams squared off for the last two spots in the 32-team field that advanced to match play.
Virginia Tech coach Carol Robertson birdied the ninth hole from 5 feet to advance to match play alongside former James Madison teammate Corrie Myers. They ousted Ellen Oswald and Dani Mullin on the second playoff hole.
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Short shots: The youngest team in the field – 13-year-olds Briana Chacon and Hannah Zeman – missed the playoff by one shot. Lucy Li, the youngest participant at age 12, advanced with partner Kathleen Scavo. Morgan Goldstein was the only 13-year-old competitor to advance. … Camilla Vik and Susana Vik were the only sister-sister team to move on to match play. Camila, 20, is a sophomore at Yale. Susana plays varsity ice hockey and soccer at Greenwich (Conn.) Academy. She’s also on the Norwegian junior national golf team as both sisters have dual USA-Norway citizenship.