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Five UA golfers to vie for Women's Amateur

by Tom Murphy | August 3, 2020 at 2:19 a.m.
Brooke Matthews of Arkansas walks Tuesday, May 21, 2019, to the 16th green during her match with Letizia Bagnoli of Wake Forest in the Women's NCAA Golf Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Johnson.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Only the University of Southern California will have more active players in the field than the University of Arkansas at the 120th U.S. Women's Amateur Golf championship.

Five Razorbacks are in the field of 132 that tees off this morning at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. The Trojans sport six active players, while 2019 NCAA champion Duke and Stanford join Arkansas with five representatives.

Junior Brooke Matthews of Rogers; sophomores Ela Anacona, Julia Gregg and Kajal Mistry; and incoming freshman Cory Lopez are all representing the Razorbacks at the championship.

"It's unbelievable to have five players at the U.S. Amateur," Arkansas Coach Shauna Taylor said. "It says a lot about their play and how good they've done over the years. It's going to be an exciting week."

Matthews is a repeat participant, having played in last year's event at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. Matthews completed two rounds of stroke play at 1-under par before routing Auston Kim 6 & 4 in the round of 64. She fell to Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif., in the round of 32.

"Definitely last year was awesome at Old Waverly," Matthews said. "There's just a lot of amazing players.

"The more big events you can play in like this, the better you're going to get. Just the further you're going to be able to take your game. It's a really special event, one of my favorites of the year."

Lopez, 18, is competing in her fifth USGA Championship, having reached the match play portion last year before falling to Therese Warner 3 & 2 in the round of 64.

Mistry, a native South African who has not gotten to travel home during the coronavirus pandemic and stayed part of the spring with the Matthews family, said it was fun to have teammates around the putting green and driving range over the weekend in Rockville.

"I'm also super proud of the team to have that many people in the field because it's such a great field," Mistry said. "It shows a lot about our team and our future."

Mistry isn't at 100% because she played so much golf in the spring and summer.

"I definitely practiced a lot more than I would've," she said. "I actually hurt my wrist from overpracticing, or something like that."

Mistry said the tendon injury she suffered is feeling "pretty good" right now.

Matthews and Mistry have been practicing well at the Razorbacks' home course The Blessings.

"I'm feeling good," Matthews said. "I feel like I've been putting in the work. I've been practicing a lot more this summer where I would normally be playing a lot more tournaments."

Said Mistry: "We've been playing some good golf back at The Blessings, so hopefully we can translate that into this week."

Both Matthews and Mistry will have familiar faces on their bags. Terry Matthews, Brooke's father who recently retired from his job at J.B. Hunt, will carry his daughter's clubs. Arkansas assistant coach Mike Adams will caddie for Mistry.

"I cannot wait," Mistry said. "He's literally one of the nicest people I've ever met. I'm happy to have him on the bag. He's so funny.

"I've really gotten to know him well over the past couple of months because I've literally spent all day with him sometimes. So I'm really excited, and I'm super grateful that he came."

Terry Matthews has been a frequent caddie for his daughter.

"We usually do pretty well," Brooke Matthews said. "We get along. We have a lot of fun out there. He knows my game super well. He's able to calm me down or talk to me the way I need to be talked to, so it's good. I'm excited."

Because of the threat of rain today, the field will be going off both No. 1 and No. 10 at 6 a.m. Central, and again at 11 a.m. The Razorbacks are scattered throughout the field.

Anacona, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is scheduled to tee off on No. 1 at 6:10 a.m. Mistry comes next at 11:10 a.m. on No. 10. Gregg is scheduled to go off No. 1 at 11:20 a.m. At the same time, Lopez is set to start on No. 10. Matthews will be in the final group of the day off No. 10 at 12:40 p.m.

Defending champion Gabriela Ruffels of USC is scheduled to tee off on No. 1 at 6:40 a.m.

120th U.S. Women's Amateur

Golf Championship

Where Woodmont Country Club, Rockville, Md.

When Today-Sunday

Course stats Par 72, 6,561 yards

Format 132 competitors will play two rounds of stroke play today and Tuesday, followed by six rounds of match play starting Wednesday capped by a 36-hole final

TV Golf Channel, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday; 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Thursday; Noon-3 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday; noon-3 p.m. Sunday.

Noteworthy Five Razorbacks are in the field: Ela Anacona, Julia Gregg, Cory Lopez, Brooke Matthews and Kajal Mistry

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