The 19-year-old Kajal Mistry produced a miraculous comeback during the final round of strokeplay at the US Women’s Amateur Championship to secure her spot for the matchplay phase of the event.
The young South Africa suffered a tough start to the week when she carded an opening-round nine-over-par 81 on Tuesday before rain interrupted proceedings.
But, after the second round was completely washed out, she returned on Wednesday full of determination to change the momentum in her favour and she did exactly that with a three-under 69 at Woodmont Country Club.
It meant she and 13 other players had to take part in a playoff for the remaining six spots in the matchplay and after birdieing the first playoff hole, she dramatically sealed her participation in the first round.
Afterwards Mistry said she tried to refocus as quickly as possible after the horrors of her opening round.
‘I went over my round in the car going home and I realised I didn’t do much wrong. I wasn’t really hitting the ball badly. I hit a lot of fairways, but I missed in the wrong place a couple of times. The layout is very similar to Blessings back home [at the University of Arkansas].
‘You can’t get up and down from the wrong place on this course. If you put yourself in the rough around here, it’s tough and that’s what cost me.’
She was, however, confident that she could force her way back into contention for a spot in the matchplay if she delivered on Wednesday.
‘I birdied the eighth early in the morning in regulation play and I had a really good feeling, because I was striking the ball so well all day. I felt really comfortable. I’m super stoked to have made it. From here on, everything else is a bonus,’ said the Randpark golfer.
She will now join compatriot Kaleigh Telfer in the first round of the matchplay where she will face Australia’s Gabriela Ruffles.
Telfer, on the other hand, enjoyed a smoother run-in for a spot in the matchplay after finishing in the top 20 after the second round.
‘The weather was really good with not much wind. The course was still really wet, so it played a lot longer than on day one and we got a lot of mud balls.
‘That was the trickiest part of the round; just the uncertainty of how the ball was going to behave. I got off to a great start and I was three under through six, and then just got a few mud balls and missed the greens in the wrong places to make three bogeys in a row to turn even- par,’ Telfer said.