Jennifer Kupcho Captures Inaugural Augusta National Womens Amateur PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno

Jennifer Kupcho hoists the trophy after winning the inaugural ANWA

Augusta, Georgia - She hit the first tee shot of the inaugural Augusta

National Womens Amateur Championship, and she rolled in the final

putt to win in front of thousands on property and millions around the

world. Say what you will about the members of the most exclusive

golf club in the free world, but these days they are making progressive

strides of inclusion and growing the game - this was just another step

in the right direction.


As for the competition (that began at nearby Champions Retreat on

Wed), it was just about as thrilling as a Masters Sunday. Two of the

finest collegiate players - Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi had separated

themselves from the field by the time they reached the back nine at

Augusta National. Battling a migraine headache midway through the

round, Kupcho the reigning NCAA Champion needed to steady the ship

after a bogey at the tenth left her two shots behind Fassi, who started

hot - playing the first eight holes in 4 under par.


After both players parred both the eleventh and twelfth, Kupcho took on

the challenge at the par 5 thirteenth. From 211 yards out, she ripped a

towering 3 hybrid to within 6 feet. Fassi chose to lay up, and wedged to

10 feet away. Fassi barely missed her attempt at birdie, opening the door

for a two-stroke swing. When Kupcho poured the eagle into the center of

the cup, the patrons erupted and the event immediately took on a vibe all

its own. From there, with the score knotted at 7 under par, Kupcho went

on a blitz - making birdies at the fifteenth, sixteenth and appropriately

drained a bomb at the last to reach 10 under par and win by four over

Fassi. The NCAA Player of the Year from Arkansas, Fassi battled valiantly

but could do nothing but admire her friend's magnificent play in becoming

the events first champion. 'We joked at the beginning, we're like, "Let's

make a sure we put up a show for people,' and we did," Fassi said. I'm

extremely proud of what I did, and Jennifer for getting that win."


As for the winner, Jennifer Kupcho knew that what she did on that back

nine was special, but more importantly what the day at the National

meant for women and the sport of golf. "Coming out of it with Maria in

the final group with me, I think both of us kind of just wanted to send a

message that golf is about having friends, the Wake Forest standout said.

"To be out there with her, we were cheering each other on, and that's

kind of how golf is supposed to be. And to make it look fun, it is fun. So

to make it look that way for everyone watching, I hope it encourages

people to pick up a club and go play.