Mao Takes Medalist Honors at U.S. Women's Amateur Qualifying

Briana Mao of Folsom, Calif. shot the low round of the day, taking medalist honors to lead the six players who advance from the 18-hole qualifier held on the Prospector Course at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash. for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur. The 113th U.S. Women’s Amateur will be held at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.), August 5-11.

The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) is the local representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and conducted this qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.

Mao, a sophomore at the University of Virginia, was the only player in the field to break par on the Arnold Palmer-designed course, playing her way through 100-degree heat to shoot a 3-under par 69. The other five players to advance to the championship are Cyna Rodriguez of the Philippines, Princess Superal, also of the Philippines, Caroline Inglis of Eugene, Simin Feng of Windermere, Fla. and Lauren Sewell of Renton, Wash. Both Feng and Sewell survived a playoff to claim the final two spots into the championship.

No stranger to national championships, Mao has played in three U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships, including last month where she made the Round of 16. She also qualified for the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. This will be her first U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Along with the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open, the Women’s Amateur was one of the USGA’s first three championships. The first U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship was played one month after the 1895 Amateur and Open Championships. Although a stroke-play format was selected for the first championship, the Women’s Amateur became a match-play competition in 1896, and has remained so ever since.

The defending champion is Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who would make history later in the summer by becoming the youngest player to win an LPGA Tour event when she won the CN Canadian Women’s Open, and the first amateur to win an LPGA Tour event in 43 years.

The most noteworthy champion is the late Glenna Collett Vare, a lifelong amateur who won the Cox Cup a record six times. In the 1920s and 1930s, Vare was the darling of the sports world, much as Bob Jones was during that era. Second only to Vare is JoAnne Gunderson Carner, a member of the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame who won five Women’s Amateur Championships. Combined with her two wins in the U.S. Women’s Open and a single win in the U.S. Girls’ Junior, Carner’s record of eight USGA titles is eclipsed only by Jones and Tiger Woods, who have each won nine.

The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association (USGA), 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.