Brynn Walker of St. David’s, Pa., a rising junior at the University of North Carolina, has an affinity for New Jersey golf courses.
A year ago, she shot one-under-par 71 to earn medalist honors in the qualifier at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, and a year later, she did it again.
This week, Walker fired a five-under-par 67 to become medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship qualifier at the 6,284-yard Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell. The event was conducted by the New Jersey State Golf Association.
Walker will be playing in her eighth USGA championship. She has qualified for three U.S. Women’s Amateurs, two U.S Four-Ball championships, one U.S. Girls’ Junior, and represented Pennsylvania in two U.S. Women’s State Team Championships.
Her round at Hackensack included six birdies and one bogey. She birdied four of her final five holes.
“I hit 16 greens and made 28 putts. On my ninth hole, No. 18, I sank a 35-foot downhill putt. Putting has always been the best part of my game. The greens rolled really nice and fast today,” said Walker, 20. "I always look forward to coming back north after my college season ends. I love the courses up here."
Five well-credentialed golfers earned the right to advance to the event, which takes place Aug. 6-12 at the Golf Club of Tennessee.
Others who qualified were Bianca Pagdanganan of Tucson, Az.,, who shot 68, Jackie Rogowicz of Yardley, Pa., and Katherine Zhu of San Jose, Calif., who carded 70s, and Ina Kim-Schaad, 34, of New York. Kim-Schaad gained the final spot by winning a six-hole playoff for players who shot 71. Kim-Schaad’s par on the sixth playoff hole eliminated 16-year-old Jennifer Cleary of Wilmington, Del.
Kim-Schaad, a former golfer at Northwestern University, will be appearing in her second U.S. Women’s Amateur in the past two years. Cleary, the first alternate, was also the first alternate this spring at qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open at Canoe Brook Country Club.
Anina Ku of Basking Ridge, an incoming freshman at Harvard who qualified for the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, was ousted after the first playoff hole and received second alternate status.
Pagdanganan, 20, is a rising senior at the University of Arizona and was a key member of its NCAA championship golf team this spring. The native of Manila, Republic of the Philippines, recorded an eagle at the par-4 No. 4 when she holed out from 100 yards.
Rogowicz, 20, is a rising senior at Penn State. She has played in three U.S. Girls’ Juniors and will be playing in her third U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Zhu, 18, has qualified for the U.S. Four-Ball and U.S. Girls’ Junior events. She is entering her freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley.
Looking at just the impressive credentials of the qualifiers, one could surmise that Hackensack did what great courses are supposed to do – help the cream rise to the top.