Toscano reaches Round of 16 at U.S. Women’s Amateur

Photo courtesy of www.usga.org/Chris Keane, via www.gojacks.com

ROCKVILLE, Md. – South Dakota State’s Teresa Toscano advanced to the Round of 16 at the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship last week at Woodmont Country Club.

Toscano, who is from Huelva, Spain, will return to Brookings for her fifth season of eligibility with the Jackrabbits. She chose to use the additional year of eligibility the NCAA extended her in March when the pandemic put an early end to what she thought was her final season.

Qualifying

Toscano earned the No. 43 seed following 36 holes of medal play.

She shot 73 Monday and was tied for 24th and then added a 75 Wednesday – the second round was delayed due to Hurricane Isaias – for a 36-hole tally of 4-over-par 148, finishing tied for 36th.

The top 64 players in the 132-player field advanced to match play.

American Rachel Heck was medalist at 4-under-140 (69-71). She ended up getting eliminated in the Round of 16.

Note: The event is typically played with 156 golfers, but the field was limited this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. Unlike previous years, the USGA also made the decision to forgo qualifying for the championship and rely on expanded use of the WAGR.

Round of 64

Toscano was clutch late in her 3-and-2 defeat of No. 22 Sadie Englemann, an incoming freshman at Stanford from Austin, Texas, on Thursday.

She birdied the par-3 13th to move 1-up and, after halving the 14th, won the 15th with a par 5.

Toscano sealed the victory with another deuce at the par-3 16th.

Toscano won the third but Englemann came out on top on Nos. 4-5. Toscano bounced back by winning the eighth and ninth, and Englemann squared the match with a birdie on No. 12.

Round of 32

Toscano won five of the first 11 holes en route to a 3-and-1 victory over 11th-seeded Hailey Borja, a sophomore at Michigan from Lake Forest, California, on Friday morning.

She took the second and third with birds. Borja parred the sixth to cut the deficit in half.

Toscano answered with birdies at the eighth, 10th and 11th to move 4-up.

Borja won the 12th with a bird and the 15th with a par.

Toscano was dormie going to the 17th and registered another birdie to win the hole and the match.

Round of 16

Defending-champion Gabriela Ruffels topped Toscano 4-and-2 on Friday afternoon.

The Australian, who is entering her senior season at USC, went on to place second as the No. 6 seed.

Toscano won the fourth, fifth and seventh holes, while Ruffels took Nos. 3 and 6 – leaving the Jackrabbit 1-up. They halved the eighth.

However, it was all Ruffels after that.

She claimed victories at the ninth (par), 12th (birdie), 14th (birdie), 15th (par) and 16th (birdie) to seal the deal.

Zhang wins to deny Ruffels a repeat

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) – California teenager Rose Zhang, the No. 16 seed, won the longest U.S. Women’s Amateur title match in 54 years, denying Gabriela Ruffels a repeat victory Sunday when the 20-year-old Australian missed a 3-foot par putt on the 38th hole.

Neither player led by more than 2 up the entire 36-hole match, and they halved the last five holes with par to force extra holes for the first time since 2001.

Zhang, a 17-year-old who has committed to play at Stanford next year, sent it to overtime with a clutch flop-and-run from the rough about 40 yards away on the 18th hole at Woodmont Country Club to tap-in range.

On the first extra hole, Zhang missed about a 12-foot putt for the win. On the 38th hole, Ruffels went just beyond the green from the rough and hit a good pitch to about 3 feet. Zhang missed her birdie putt, and then Ruffels’ par putt to extend the match spun around the cup.

Ruffels, who plays at USC, was trying to become the first back-to-back winner of the U.S. Women’s Amateur since Danielle Kang in 2011.

Ruffels, who trailed early in all her matches leading to the final, this time built a 2-up lead through three holes, only for Zhang to quickly rally. The match was particularly wild toward the end of the first 18 holes. Ruffels won the 18th to cut the deficit to 1 down. That was part of an eight-hole stretch in which only two holes were halved.

Ruffels made an 8-foot birdie on the par-3 13th in the afternoon to square the match for the last time until Zhang won it with par on the 38th hole.

It was the second-longest championship match since the U.S. Women’s Amateur started match play in 1896. The record was 41 holes in 1966, when JoAnne Gunderson beat Marlene Stewart Streit, who both are in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

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