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June 18, 2013

First round offers tough challenge at U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links

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.

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