Ree, Vu Survive Marathon Day
August 10, 2017
A day that began with 32 competitors and nine SCGA members standing ended Thursday night with just eight women still in the running to claim the 117th U.S. Women's Amateur. The nine Southern California natives were dwindled down to two, with USC's Robynn Ree of Redondo Beach and UCLA's Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley surviving the morning's Round of 32 and the afternoon's Round of 16 to advance to the Championship's quarterfinals, which will be held Friday afternoon.
In perfect conditions at San Diego CC, which is hosting the Championship for the first time since 1993, Robynn Ree was the story of the Round of 32, defeating her opponent Tze Han Lin of Chinese Taipei 9 and 8, playing the ten holes in 4-under par en route to the dominating victory. The win was the second-largest margin of victory in Championship history. Ree, who had only needed 14 holes to win her Round of 64 match Wednesday, finally found herself in a close match in the afternoon round, needing all of San Diego CC's 18 holes to close out her match against Japan's Karen Miyamoto. The match, which was tied for 12 of its 18 holes of play, was a close battle throughout, with four lead changes and neither competitor ever going more than 1 up. Ree, a rising junior at USC, will square off against Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland at 1:40 p.m. Friday.
“I feel like I'm putting well,” said Ree, who made the field by way of being the first alternate in the U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and found out she was playing in the event on July 29. “I feel like I can read the greens better, and definitely my putting speed is helping me a lot, too, because these greens are difficult.”
For Vu, her nail-biting match occurred in the morning's Round of 32, where she went 18 holes with Sarah Burnham of Minnesota before eventually winning 1 up. After spending the majority of the front nine 1 or 2 down, Vu would win holes 11 and 12 with birdies, taking her first lead since the first hole of the match. Burham would quickly fight back, however, tying things up on the par-4 15th hole with a birdie of her own. She would give the lead right back to Vu two holes later, collecting her third bogey of the match on the 17th hole, giving Vu the 1 up advantage heading into the 402-yard finishing hole.
Needing to win the hole to extend the match, Burnham hit a beautiful approach shot to give herself a good look at birdie, her ball sitting about eight feet from the hole. Vu, on the other hand, would settle for a two-putt par, and opening the door for Burnham to keep herself alive. The putt would slide just to the right of the hole, however, providing Vu the victory and unleashing cheers from the gallery, which included UCLA Head Coach Carrie Forsyth and UCLA rising junior Bethany Wu, who had lost an hour earlier to young phenom Lucy Li, 6 and 5.
Vu will have the opportunity to seek revenge for her teammate when she faces off against 14-year-old Li in the quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. After the close match Thursday morning, Vu easily took care of her opponent Sarah Rhee of Seattle 6 and 5 in the Round of 16, playing the matches 13 holes in 3-under par.
Southern California stars to advance out of the Round of 32 but fall later that afternoon included Escondido's Haley Moore, 14-year-old Zoe Campos of Valencia and Stephanie Lau of Fullerton.
The quarterfinals can be watched live on FS1 from 3-6 p.m. PT. All eight quarterfinalists are exempt into the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur, which will be conducted Aug. 6-12 at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.