Thursday, August 8, 2013

Emma Talley Wins Again; Advances to Quarter-Finals of U.S. Women's Amateur

Well, this was quite a match.  Ms. Talley was taking on Maria Fassi, a 15-year-old from Mexico who had already pulled off a come-from-behind victory this morning against a top player from Mississippi State.  Talley took a quick lead by birdieing the first hole, and then both golfers parred the next five holes.  Ms. Fassi finally stumbled with a bogey on 7, and Ms. Talley was 2-up.  But then Ms. Talley bogeyed the 8th hole, and her lead was back to 1-up.  Both golfers parred the 9th hole, so Ms. Talley had the smallest of leads at the turn.

But then Ms. Fassi bogeyed the 10th hole, and double-bogeyed the 11th hole, and Ms. Talley was 3-up with only 7 holes to play.  However, over those last seven holes, she didn't putt well.  She bogeyed the 12th hole, and her lead was 2-up.  Then she missed several decent birdie putts that could have put the match away.  And when Ms. Fassi holed a long birdie putt on 16, Ms. Talley was only 1 up with two holes left.

The golfers parred the 17th hole, and came to the final hole with all to play for.  The 18th hole at the Country Club of Charleston is a 432-yard par 4.  After two shots, Ms. Talley had reached the front edge of the green -- about 40 feet from the hole.  Ms. Fassi's second shot came up just short of the green, and she was faced with a long chip shot over a ridge.  Ms. Fassi went first, and her chip came up about 8 feet short.  Ms. Talley then hit her long putt to within about four feet.

So now it was up to Ms. Fassi, who had to make her putt to save par.  If she made it, then Ms. Talley would have to make a very stressful four-footer to win the match.  After looking at her putt from every angle, Ms. Fassi putted -- and it looked like it was going in.  But while her line was good, she didn't hit the putt quite hard enough, and it trickled away at the last moment.  Her bogey meant that Ms. Talley only had to get down in two putts from four feet to win the match.  So Ms. Fassi conceded the last putt, and Ms. Talley won by the score of 2-up.

Afterward, speaking with an accent that could only have come from Western Kentucky, Ms. Talley told the interviewer for the Golf Channel that she had been working with her coach at Alabama on not being so nervous.  She said that she was "blessed" to have the chance to play golf in such a beautiful setting, and that she was working on trying to appreciate what she has.

As you can imagine, Ms. Talley's Twitter feed mostly consists of her thanking all the many folks who are trying to congratulate her.  But here was her tweet after the afternoon match:

Wow intense match!  I had a lot of fun!!  Pray for me tomorrow please!!!!  So blessed!  Quarterfinals!

It's hard to disagree with any of that. 

Tomorrow, at 1:15 P.M. Princeton (Ky.) time, Ms. Talley will take on Su Hyun Oh, a 16-year-old who was born in South Korea, but who moved to Australia when she was eight. The Aussies think she has a chance to be one of the greats of the game.  In fact, Ms. Oh is the second-ranked player in the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking.  She made it to the quarter-finals of this same event last year, and she has already won the 2012 Australian Girls' Amateur Championship.  She will be a very tough opponent.

Here are the other six quarter-finalists.  As you will see, Ms. Talley is in some very impressive company:

Lauren Diaz-Yi is an 18-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif. who won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links earlier this year.  She will be attending UVA in the fall.

Doris Chen is a 20-year-old from Taiwan who plays for USC.  She won the U.S. Girls' Junior title in 2010, and was the runner-up to Ms. Diaz-Yi in the 2013 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links.  She's number 25 in the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Yueer Cindy Feng is a 17-year-old from Orlando, Fla. who was originally born in China.  She has already played in three U.S. Women's Opens.

Annie Park is an 18-year-old from Levittown, N.Y.  She plays for USC, and she won the NCAA Division I individual championship a few months ago.  She's number 5 in the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Katelyn Sepmoree is a 22-year-old from Tyler, Tex. who played golf at the University of Texas.  This is only her second appearance in the U.S. Women's Amateur.

Alison Lee is an 18-year-old from Valencia, Calif. who was the runner-up in the 2012 U.S. Girls' Junior title.  She has played in three U.S. Women's Opens, and will attend UCLA in the fall of 2013.


  1. This is an outstanding, outstanding report.

    I found it stunning that Ms. Tassi conceded Ms. Talley her 4-footer for the win. I guess that's probably the correct protocol, but that seems like an awfully generous concession. In any event, I'm certainly glad it worked out as it did.

    Also, it's admirable that Ms. Talley took the time last night to individually thank so many well-wishers to her Twitter feed.

  2. maria fassi ‏@MariaFassi0
    @talley_emma congratulations ejoyed playing with you go win the whole thing!!! Have fun im gonna be watching
    10:21 PM - 8 Aug 13