NORMAN — Ordinarily, the top of the leaderboard is where you want to be. In the case of U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, being in the top 64 after 36 holes of stroke play is all that matters.
“I’m just trying to make the cut and see what happens from there,” defending champion Kyung Kim said after firing an even-par 72 that has her tied for 13th.
The top 64 advance to match play, which begins Wednesday. The other 92 players in the field go home.
However, the 6,351-yard layout showed its teeth Monday. Only 11 players managed to break par in the opening round.
That didn’t bother anyone wearing a Southern Cal shirt Monday. Kim actually had the high round among a trio of current Trojans.
Annie Park, who won the NCAA tournament last month as a freshman at USC, continued her torrid spring. The 18-year-old from Leavittown, N.Y., fired a 68.
“My putting was pretty good,” Park said. “I was struggling with my shots — I just couldn't hit it straight. But when I did, I made my putts. It was nice. My up-and-downs were pretty good.”
They must have been. Park had five birdies and only carded one bogey at the par-3 12th.
Park is tied with USC teammate Doris Chen. Chen also posted five birdies against one bogey.
“It was a smooth round. It felt good,” she said. “That was the first 68 I’ve shot the whole year.”
USC wasn’t the only school with a trio of players putting themselves in contention for match-play spots.
Oklahoma also has three in the field, and all three put themselves in a position to advance to match play.
Anne-Catherine Tanguay opened with a 69. The senior-to-be and third-team All-American this past season, derived a lot of confidence from playing on her home course.
“I just love this golf course,” Tanguay said. “Nothing feels better than playing on our home course. The best thing for me is my putting, because I know the greens so well, and that really works in my favor.”
She is joined at 3-under with Casey Danielson and Mariel Galdiano. Oklahoma State’s Julie Yang was among a quartet at 2-under par with Rika Park, Kelly Shon and Grace Na.
Karen Chung and Ashley Holder both shot 71.
OU’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil. The two-time Sooner All-American cruised to an even-par round and is well inside the cutline with 18 holes of stroke play remaining.
“I hit the ball fine, but I couldn’t make any putts,” Jao-Javanil said. “The only putt I made was on No. 1, but I hit two feet. Other than that, it was one bogey and the rest were all pars. It was steady the whole round.”
Taylor Schmidt, who graduated from OU this spring, is inside the cut line at 3 over. After Thursday’s opening round, Schmidt is one shot inside the cut line.
Where it will ultimately fall is anyone’s guess. The course showed Monday there weren’t too many birdies to be had.
“Making match play is the first part of the tournament. After that, you take it match by match and hole by hole,” Schmidt said. “Obviously, that’s my goal.”
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