Cheng & Na Set for U.S. Women's Amateur Next Week
Grace Na is playing in the event for the fourth time, while Liv Cheng is making her first appearance.
Aug. 2, 2013
This will be the fourth time that Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS) has played in the U.S. Women's Amateur, following appearances in 2009, 2010 and 2012, while Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand) will be competing in the tournament for the first time.
"We are very excited to have two players qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur," Pepperdine Coach Laurie Gibbs said. "Grace and Liv have been working hard on their games this summer and should have a great week in Charleston."
Two rounds of stroke play will be held on Monday and Tuesday (August 5-6). The top 64 will advance to match play, which begins on Wednesday (August 7) and concludes on Sunday (August 11).
Cheng was medalist at her qualifier on July 8 at Glendora (Calif.) Country Club, as she shot a 71 and won by three strokes. Na joined her by finishing second at a July 11 qualifier at Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland, Calif., with a 72.
"I played the qualifier (at Glendora) last year but didn't play so well," Cheng said. "Knowing the course a bit helped this year. The course is pretty narrow so I had to play smart and use good course management. I'm pretty excited to play in the U.S. Amateur. I've played in some good tournaments in New Zealand but nothing this big. Ideally I'd like to make it to match play and see what happens."
Na reached match play each of her three previous trips, but bowed out in the round of 64 each time. Last summer, though, she reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship, and this year she made it to the round of 16.
"I'm really excited and honored to be going to the U.S. Amateur again," Na said. "I've been preparing for it. If the timing is right, it'll click. The point is to make it to match play, whether you're first or 64th. Then it's a whole different game. You have to beat six players, so it's like playing six different tournaments."
Cheng and Na will be traveling back to South Carolina together, and Na has already tried to help Cheng prepare for her first U.S. Amateur.
"I told Liv it's going to be a whole new experience and that she should look forward to it," Na said. "It's a very prestigious event. But you only have control over what you can control. Do your best and you can't ask for any more than that. I'm excited to be travel buddies, you don't get to do that too often during the summer."
Cheng and Na are hoping to follow in the footsteps of former Wave Danielle Kang, who captured back-to-back U.S. Women's Amateur titles in 2010 and 2011.
Na is coming off a spectacular junior campaign with the Waves. She earned All-American first team honors from both Golfweek and the WGCA, finished #8 in the final Golfstat rankings and #9 by Golfweek/Sagarin, and set the school's single-season scoring record (72.17 strokes per round). She also holds Pepperdine's career scoring record (73.31). Cheng earned her third consecutive All-West Coast Conference first team honor last season and also excelled in the classroom, earning WGCA Scholar All-American honors for the second time. Both helped the Waves to their 12th consecutive WCC title in 2013.