Two of South Africa’s top-ranked amateurs made their debuts at the US Women’s Amateur Championship in Maryland on Monday.
Kaleigh Telfer – the country’s highest-ranked amateur in the world rankings – and Kajal Mistry both qualified for the prestigious event at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, where the typical field of 156 was cut to 132 due to health concerns around the Covid-19 pandemic.
Telfer opened her account with a brilliant one-under-par 71 in her opening round to finish the day in T7, while Mistry found the going rather tough on Monday with a 81 to start with.
The field for the 120th edition of the premier national amateur golf tournament comprises exempt players based on a variety of exemption categories, including the winners and runners-up in three national amateur competitions conducted in July.
Speaking ahead of the event, Telfer was emphatically excited about competing at one of women’s golf’s biggest competitions.
‘It’s a big honour to be playing in the US Women’s Amateur and I’m really looking forward to it. Things were pretty normal here during the pandemic, aside from social distancing and wearing masks indoors. We didn’t have many tournaments, but I was able to practise quite a bit to prepare for Woodmont.
‘In these unpredictable times I was so happy to qualify and I’m just excited to be playing again. This is one of those events you really want to play and I’m grateful that I got the chance. I hadn’t played the course before, so it was good to get a few practice rounds in. It’s a traditional parklands course, so accuracy will be key this week,’ she said.
Similarly, Mistry, who is one of five Razorbacks to make the field, said her preparation ran smoothly before the start of play on Monday.
‘I didn’t travel home during the pandemic. I stayed a part of the spring with my teammate Brooke Matthews and we did a lot of practising. In fact, I practiced a lot more than I normally would have and hurt my wrist, but the tendon injury is feeling pretty good now.
‘I’m super excited to make my US Women’s Amateur debut and I am so proud of the team. To have so many players qualify shows a lot about the depth of the team and our future. We’ve been playing some good golf back at The Blessings, so hopefully we can all make that count this week.’
Tuesday’s second-round stroke play has, however, been postponed to Wednesday due to bad weather at the Woodmont Country Club.