NESHANIC STATION, N.J. – Clark native Kimberly Kaufman won two matches Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at Neshanic Station Golf Course.
The 23rd-seeded Kaufman defeated No. 58 Allisen Corpuz (Honolulu, Hawaii) 2-and-1 in the third round on Thursday afternoon after beating No. 10 Demi Frances Runas (Torrance, Calif.) 3-and-2 in the second round in the morning.
Kaufman and Corpuz were all square through 11 when Kaufman won the par-3 12th with a birdie to take the lead for good. They halved the 13th with a par and Kaufman went 2-up with a birdie on the par-5 14th.
The golfers halved the 15th and 16th with pars, pushing Kaufman to dormie; and she sealed the match with another halve – with a par – on the 17th.
For the second time in three matches, Kaufman lost the first hole – this time after Corpuz made birdie. But the lead didn’t last long, as Kaufman won the sixth with a par and the seventh with a birdie to take a 1-up lead.
Corpuz squared the match at the turn with a birdie on the par-4 ninth; and both golfers won a hole with a par after that, Kaufman winning the 10th and Corpuz the 11th.
Kaufman was 2-under (with concessions) when the match ended after 17 holes, while Corpuz was 2-over, including a double-bogey on the 14th.
During second-round action, Kaufman never trailed in the win over Runas. She won the first hole with a par and the fourth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. Runas birdied the par-3 sixth to get within one, before Kaufman birdied four of the next six holes – the par-4 seventh, eighth and 10th, and the par-3 12th – to go 5-up.
Despite losing the 13th to a par and the 15th to a birdie, Kaufman was still dormie with three holes to play. She matched Runas’ birdie on the par-4 16th to seal the victory.
Kaufman was 5-under through the 16 completed holes, while Runas was 2-under.
Kaufman took on No. 31 Chirapat Jao-Javanil (Thailand) in the quarterfinals this morning at 6:50 a.m. The winner of that match took on the winner of the No. 30 Grace Na (Alameda, Calif.)/No. 27 Ashlan Ramsey match in the semifinals at 11:45 a.m. The 36-hole final is Saturday at 7 a.m.
Only four of the top 25 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals. After scraping out 1-up victories in the first round Wednesday, medalist Lisa McCloskey (Houston, Texas) and No. 2 seed Karen Chung (Livingston, N.J.) were both eliminated in the second round.
No. 4 Abe Lakareber (Angleton, Texas) is the highest remaining seed.
Notes: Kaufman, 20, is the oldest remaining player in the field. … Kaufman tied for 20th in medal play qualifying with an even-par 144 (72-72) total. She beat No. 42 Alice Chen (Princeton, N.J.) 2-and-1 in the first round Wednesday … Kaufman is coming off a tie for eighth at the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship during her junior season at Texas Tech; she was also an All-American. She won four Class B state high school golf titles – 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 – at Clark High School and two South Dakota Golf Association titles – 2009 and 2011 Amateur.
Today’s pairings – Quarterfinals
No. 33 Alice Jeong (Gardena, Calif.) vs. No. 8 Annie Park (Levittown, N.Y.), 6:30 a.m.
No. 4 Abe Lakareber (Angleton, Texas) vs. No. 21 Kyung Kim (Chandler, Ariz.), 6:40 a.m.
No. 31 Chirapat Jao-Javanil (Thailand) vs. No. 23 Kimberly Kaufman (Clark), 6:50 a.m.
No. 30 Grace Na (Alameda, Calif.) vs. No. 27 Ashlan Ramsey (Milledgeville, Ga.), 7 a.m.
Semifinals – 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
Saturday – Championship
36 holes, 7 a.m.
A shot at history
It is believed that Rapid City’s Wil Collins has advanced further than any South Dakotan in a USGA amateur event, making it to the semifinals of the 1998 U.S. Amateur Public Links. Kaufman is one win away from matching that feat and two wins away from topping it – of course, she’s also three wins away from becoming the state’s first USGA champion.
Interestingly, when Collins made it to the semis in ’98, he fell 3-and-2 to Jason Dufner. Dufner went on to lose the final 3-and-2 to Trevor Immelman at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) in La Jolla, Calif.
Dufner and Immelman were not very well known at the time; but the former broke through with two PGA Tour victories this season, while the latter is also a two-time PGA Tour winner – including the 2008 Masters.
Collins, 33, who is now a professional, earned a PGA Tour card for the 2009 season. Among his notable achievements was an appearance in the 2005 U.S. Open.
Notes: Despite not having a USGA champion, South Dakota has played host to a pair of USGA events – the 1984 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at Meadowbrook Golf Course in Rapid City and the 1996 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Westward Ho Country Club in Sioux Falls.