Galdiano leads qualifying, Milligan, Youngblood do not advance to match play

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With a championship-record 9-under 133, Mariel Galdiano earned medalist honors in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, being conducted at the 6,259-yard, par-71 Rolling Green Golf Club.

Lucy Li, 13, of Redwood Shores, Calif., finished second at 135, while Hye-Jin Choi, 16, of the Republic of Korea, and Yuka Saso, 15, of the Philippines, tied for third at 137.

The 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, conducted by the United States Golf Association, is open to female amateur golfers with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 5.4. It consists of two 18-hole rounds of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday.

The two Oklahomans in the field did not make the cut for match play. Sydney Youngblood of Durant shot rounds of 75-75 to finish at 8-over, while Kaitlin Milligan of Norman shot 75-78 to finish at 11 over.

Galdiano, 18, of Pearl City, Hawaii, took Rolling Green by storm on Tuesday, carding a bogey-free round of 6-under 65 to go with Monday’s 68. Starting on No. 10, Galdiano, a member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team, highlighted her round with four consecutive birdies at the turn, holes 18 and 1-3.

“I really like the layout,” said Galdiano, an incoming freshman at UCLA, of the William Flynn design. “It’s the same designer as the course out at Lancaster (Country Club) last year for the Women’s Open. I played in that. So it’s a comfortable feel and comfortable look. So I’m just able to pinpoint my approach shots and make those putts.”

Galdiano’s 9-under 133 is the lowest 36-hole score in U.S. Women’s Amateur history, breaking the previous mark of 135 set by Courtney Swaim Trimble (2002, Sleepy Hollow Country Club) and Yumi Matsubara (2013, Country Club of Charleston). Her second-round 65 is tied with Rachel Rohanna (2010, Charlotte Country Club) for the second-lowest 18-hole score in history. Matsubara’s first-round 64 at the Country Club of Charleston is the lowest round in championship history.

After her round, Galdiano had no idea of her feat, despite enjoying two days that remarkably included only one bogey to 10 birdies.

“It’s kind of shocking, actually,” said Galdiano. “I thought people would be like, lights out, 15 under.”

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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