Sports

A busy summer of golf for Stanford women gets busier

 

The Stanford women's golf team will be well represented at the 117th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, which starts Monday at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista.

Senior Shannon Aubert, junior Sierra Kersten, sophomores Andrea Lee and Albane Valenzuela, and incoming freshman Mike Liu are among the 156 participants.

A near record 1,327 entries were received for the championship, which features stroke play qualifying Monday and Tuesday, with the top 64 players advancing to match play on Wednesday. The 36-hole final will be contested August 13.

Aubert starts Monday at 11:30 a.m. PT on the first tee; Kersten and Lee start at 1:20 p.m. on the 10th tee; Valenzuela starts at 8 a.m. on the 10th tee; and Liu starts at 7 a.m. on the 10th tee.

FS1 will provide 15 hours of live television coverage. Scheduled times (Pacific) are: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 3-6 p.m.; Saturday from 4-7 p.m. (semifinals); and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. (afternoon finals).

Lee, Liu and Valenzuela received exemptions, while Aubert and Valenzuela made it through sectional qualifying.

Lee, the PING/WGCA National Freshman of the Year in 2017, reached the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Women's Amateur, played on the 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup Team and USA Women's World Amateur Team, and is No. 6 in Women's World Amateur Rankings.

Liu was a member of the 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup Team, while Valenzuela tied for 67th in the 2016 U.S. Women's Open, and is No. 3 in the Women's World Amateur Rankings, the highest in the field next week.

Lee (first team) and Valenzuela (second team) were PING/WGCA All-Americans in 2017.

On Thursday, Valenzuela received a wild card invitation to play in the Evian Championship, September 14-17 in France.

Last week, Lee won the SCGA Women's Amateur Championship at San Gabriel Country Club in San Gabriel, California for the second time, posting rounds of 68-72-69 to finish at 4-under 209, good for a four-stroke victory. The previous week, she placed seventh at the Canadian Women's Amateur Championship, shooting 71-72-69-72 (4-over 284).

"This win gives me a lot of confidence," said Lee, named the 2017 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. "I haven't played a lot of competitive golf this summer. I'm really looking forward to U.S. Women's Amateur finally being in California and hopefully having some friends and family out there for support."

Incoming freshman Kelsey Zeng also competed in Canada, tying for 53rd with rounds of 78-75-76-73 (22-over 302).

Liu set the early pace at the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, MO with a 4-under 67. The Beverly Hills product poured in a 25-foot par putt on her last hole to cap the round.

Playing in a record-tying seventh consecutive U.S. Girls' Junior Championship, Liu shot 74 in the second round and tied for fifth at 1-under 141 to advance to match play. She won her first match 4 and 2, but lost in the second round.

Aubert had the first breakthrough of the summer, winning the Florida Women's Amateur Championship at the Word Golf Village King & Bear course in St. Augustine, Florida.

After earning one of 32 match play spots with rounds of 69-75, she advanced to the finals with a tough 3 and 2 morning semifinal win.

Facing Jamie Freedman in the afternoon, Aubert trailed most of the way before earning her first lead by flagging her approach shot at the par-4 17th hole and converted a short birdie putt. Freedman birdied 18 to force a sudden death playoff, and Aubert prevailed by parring the first extra hole.

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