NORMAN — The dilemma Anne-Catherine Tanguay faced early Friday afternoon in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links was one that’s confounded golfers for centuries.
The Oklahoma senior-to-be was standing over her ball in the left rough on the first playoff hole of her match against Doris Chen at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. Trying to guess how the ball would react coming out of the lie was guesswork at best.
“I had 156 (yards) to the hole and it was into the wind. I didn’t have a good lie. There was a little mud behind my ball. I initially wanted to hit my 170-yard club, my 5 hybrid, but I didn’t like the lie. I decided to punch a 6 iron. I didn’t know if it would get there. I just played it back in my stance and hit lower,” she said.
It flew into the middle of the green and raced into the back fringe, leaving an up-and-down of nearly 100 feet. Tanguay’s birdie putt came up about 10 feet short. Her par putt burned the right edge just after Chen sank a clutch 12-footer for par.
The miss ended the Sooner golfer’s run at the event. Ironically, it was the only time in Tanguay’s three matches that she trailed at any point.
“I think that's why I got emotional (after the match),” she said. “Because I was just this close. She made some really difficult putts — seven-footers, 10-footers for par — which you don't make every time. But she did. I'm OK with it.”
Tanguay was extremely close to advancing. She held a 1-up lead after a birdie on the 11th hole and clung to it until the 18th. Chen stuck her approach shot to about eight feet on the par 5 and rolled in the birdie putt to force an extra hole. Both then hit errant tee shots on the par-4 first hole, but Chen was able to get up-and-down from 50 yards short of the green.
“Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're a little unlucky on who you get to play,” said Tanguay of Chen. “It was a great match. We both did some really good things. I'm happy with it. She did good, so she deserved it.”
With her performance this week, Tanguay has earned a berth in next year’s WAPL. She’ll try to earn a berth in the Women’s U.S. Amateur next month, a qualifier in Maine.
“I'm really happy. I don't really have anything to be mad about,” Tanguay said. “Hopefully, I'll be playing in the U.S. Am and that can be my redemption.”
Women’s Amateur berths secured: Both Doris Chen and Lauren Diaz-Yi have earned exemptions into the U.S. Women’s Amateur in August at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.), and the champion also receives an exemption into the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y.
Medalist curse? Chen is trying to become the first stroke-play medalist to win the WPAL since Candie Kung 12 years ago when she beat Missy Farr-Kaye, 2-up, at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer, Ill.
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