AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho failed to, without delay, hold close the importance of hitting the outlet shot Wednesday in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur till the somber silence that greeted her on the first tee. However, seeing her name atop the leaderboard at the give-up of the day felt much more normal. Kupcho, the pinnacle-ranked lady beginner within the globe, played bogey-free at Champions Retreat Golf Club for a four-under 68 and share of the lead with sixteen-12 months-old Zoe Campos to take a big step towards competing at Augusta National.
After any other round at Champions Retreat, the top 30 from the seventy-two-player subjects face a very last round Saturday at Augusta National, making them the primary ladies to compete at the home of the Masters.
Campos, who plans to play at UCLA, birdied the par-five 18th for her sixty-eight. They had a one-shot lead over Kaleigh Telfer of South Africa, who started on the lower back nine and birdied her remaining three holes.
“It changed into brilliant,” stated Kupcho, a senior at Wake Forest. “This round, I suppose this is the primary time I’ve ever had no bogeys and hit 18 greens. So probably the primary best spherical I’ve played.” First, it helped to play within the establishing institution with Olivia Mehaffey of Northern Ireland, whom Kupcho is aware of from the Curtis Cup. Mehaffey made the primary birdie of the match and opened with a 73.
Joining them become Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand, who gained the Asia-Pacific Women’s Amateur final 12 months. Chitika did not make a birdie in her round of 79, hurting her possibilities of competing at Augusta National on Saturday. However aHowever, all 72 players will at least get to play a practice round at Augusta National on Friday.
Kupcho wasn’t conscious she changed into hitting the outlet tee shot till it turned into talked about to her on Tuesday. It was a distinctive enjoy, with membership chairman Fred Ridley amongst the ones solemnly status by way of the massive moment.
“It becomes very legitimate,” Kupcho stated. “I walked up, every person turned into very quiet, like no speak to every other at all. I turned into like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is crazy.’ But yeah, it became a terrific enjoy to have absolutely everyone there. Mr. Chairman became there. It becomes interesting to get to hit it. I changed into a bit fearful, but someway it went instantly.”
Maria Fassi of Mexico, a large-hitting senior at Arkansas, was among those at 70. Another shot at the back was Haley Moore, who made the triumphing putt at the NCAA final yr when Arizona captured the crew title.
Alexa Pano, the 14-12 months-antique from Florida who closing month had a percentage of the lead going into the very last round of a Symetra Tour occasion, had a wild day that ended with a 77. She changed into four over via six holes, ran off 3 straight birdies, after which she shot 40 at the returned nine.
The gamers started out the week with dinner at Augusta National, a tease to encourage them to get back there with a silver trophy on the road. But, instead, it appeared to paintings for Campos. “Seeing Augusta for the primary time, it becomes improbable, and like just seeing how everything is installed, and how the whole lot appears, it’s so that ideal,” she said. “Looking at that makes me extra encouraged to play higher, to play at that direction, because I suppose it would be an improbable enjoy to play there.”