Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Matthews advances at U.S. Amateur
Arkansas golfer Brooke Matthews tees off on the ninth hole during the final round of the Arkansas State Golf Association's Women's Stroke Play Championship on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock.
Brooke Matthews didn’t lose a hole during a 5-and-4 rout of Brittany Shin in the match-play round of 64 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship on Wednesday at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.
The Rogers native, a junior at the University of Arkansas and the No. 3 seed, won consecutive holes on Nos. 4-6 to grab the early lead over Shin, a sophomore at Cal State Fullerton. Matthews increased her lead with wins at the 9th and 10th with a bogey and birdie, and she was shooting even par as she clinched the match after No. 14.
Arkansas freshman Cory Lopez of Mexico, the No. 18 seed, stormed back from an early four-hole deficit to get within one of Anna Morgan, a junior at Furman University, but she could close the gap no further in a 1-up loss.
Arkansas sophomore Julia Gregg, seeded No. 26 after two rounds of stroke play, fell behind by five after nine holes and could not catch up in a 5-and-4 loss to Valery Plata, the 2020 Big Ten Player of the Year at Michigan State and a semifinalist at last year’s U.S. Amateur.
Plata, No. 50 in the world amateur rankings, won holes 4-6 with two pars and a birdie and capped a strong round with a birdie on the par 3 14th to clinch the match.
Gregg and Lopez were caught up in the upset bug as lower-seeded players won 19 of the 32 matches on Wednesday.
Matthews is the highest-seeded player still in action after No. 1 seed Rachel Kuehn lost 1 up to Marissa Wenzler and No. 2 seed Kennedy Pedigo fell 3 and 2 to Jensen Castle.
Other top 10 seeds to fall: No. 4 Erica Shepherd, No. 5 Carolina Canales, No. 6 Alyaa Abdulghany, No. 7 Allysha Mae Mateo and No. 8 Morgan Baxendale. Ninth-seeded Emilia Migliaccio, a member of Wake Forest’s NCAA runner-up team at Blessings Golf Club in 2019, and 10th seed Sophie Guo of China and the University of Texas, joined Matthews as the only top 10 seeds still alive.
Matthews will take on No. 35 seed Elle Nachmann of the United States at 8 a.m. in today’s round of 32. Nachmann, a sophomore at Penn who has not played yet collegiately due to covid-19 restrictions, ousted defending U.S. Amateur champion Rose Zhang 1 up on Wednesday. Matthews was eliminated in the round of 32 by Kuehn last year at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.
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