Milligan, Stark make cut, set to play Saturday at Augusta National

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – After two rounds at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, Oklahoma women’s golf senior Kaitlin Milligan made the cut and will compete in Saturday’s final round alongside the best amateurs in the world. The tournament opened with 82 golfers competing in the most elite field in women’s amateur history, and following Thursday’s round, the field was cut to 30. Those 30 will compete for one of the most coveted titles in amateur golf on Saturday afternoon.

The 30th and final spot went to Oklahoma State’s Maja Stark, who battled her way into a five-woman playoff, then won it by rolling in an 18-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole at No. 10. Stark opened with a 78 Wednesday but shot 73 Thursday to claw her way into the playoff.

The Oklahoma State sophomore only made three birdies in the past two days: One came on the 36th hole to help her get in the playoff and another was on the extra hole.

Milligan fired rounds of 73 and 76 on Wednesday and Thursday at the par-72, 6,445-yard Champions Retreat in Augusta to finish at 5-over and tied for 17th and punch her ticket to the final round at the famous Augusta National.

“The conditions were tough today, and I really just tried to stay in the present and take it one shot at a time,” Milligan said. “I’m so excited to be able to compete at Augusta National on Saturday. I’m really pleased with the way I played, and I’m honored to be out here competing with the best amateurs in the world.”

The field battled windy conditions on Wednesday and frigid temperatures on Thursday after a storm moved into the area on Wednesday evening, sending scores up and Milligan into the final round, comfortably above the 8-over cut line. Only two golfers out of the field of 82 played the first 36 holes under par as Rose Zhang and Ingrid Lindblad are both 1-under.

The Norman, Okla., product entered Thursday’s second round in a tie for 15th at 1-over before sinking a birdie on No. 3 to grab a share of fifth early in the day. But five bogeys over her last 15 holes moved her back to 5-over at the prestigious tournament and into a tie for 17th.

At 17th on the leaderboard, Milligan led all Big 12 players in the field, with Stark the other player from the conference to make the cut.

“I’m so proud of Kaitlin for making the cut in this elite field,” OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell said after walking with Milligan for 36 holes. “She’s played solid all week, and I know we’re looking forward to a great practice round at Augusta National tomorrow and final round on Saturday. She made some fantastic par saves this week and things are starting to pay off for her.

All players will play a practice round at Augusta National on Friday before the final 30 tee off on Saturday morning to crown a champion. The winner of the ANWA will receive an invitation to the next five Augusta National Women’s Amateurs, provided she remains an amateur, the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2021 Women’s British Open, and any USGA, R&A and PGA of America amateur championships for which she is eligible for one year.

NBC Sports will produce and broadcast three hours (11 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT) of live final-round coverage of the event at Augusta National on Saturday. Additionally, Golf Channel’s “Live From the Masters” will commence on Friday, April 2 at Augusta National to provide coverage of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals and the Masters Tournament.

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Ken MacLeod

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