Talley, Lim Claim U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Title at Oak Hills C.C.

Oak Hills Country Club, San Antonio, Texas | May 11-14, 2024

Sarah Lim and Asterisk Talley pose with the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball trophy after winning the 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Chris Keane/USGA)

Asterisk Talley’s remarkable season of golf continued this week at Oak Hills Country Club, and this time she brought a friend along for the ride. Talley, 15, of Chowchilla, Calif., teamed with fellow Northern Californian Sarah Lim, 17, of Saratoga, to capture the 9th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

The dynamic duo won a pair of matches on a hot Wednesday in southwestern Texas, including a 4-and-2 decision in the 18-hole final over Brynn Kort, 16, of Henderson, Nev., and Gracie McGovern, of Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Talley becomes the second-youngest player to win this title; she’s just two months older than fellow U.S. National Junior Team member and 2023 champion Gianna Clemente. The high school freshman’s great golf began last summer with her triumph in the Rolex Girls Championship, a major invitational on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. She also was a member of the 2023 U.S. Junior Solheim Cup Team.

This year, Talley began with a triumph at the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in March and followed with an eighth-place finish at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Nine days ago, she qualified for the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally before going to the inaugural U.S. National Junior Team camp at the Atlanta Athletic Club and flying directly to Texas on Friday in time to get in one practice round at Oak Hills, an A.W. Tillinghast design that has previously hosted the Texas Open, a PGA Tour Champions event and the 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur.

“It’s crazy just knowing that I’m on the [U.S. National Junior] Team and now I’m a [USGA] champion,” said Talley, who is No. 86 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®/WAGR®. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just super crazy. I’m speechless about it.

“It’s been a crazy year already and we’re not even halfway through. I’m just excited for what’s to come, and I’m not going to let this [title] overcome my thoughts. I’m just going to keep practicing and working hard.”

Lim, who has verbally committed to attend Princeton University in 2025, doesn’t possess the same golf résumé, but the No. 2,454 player in the WAGR did post a pair of fifth-place finishes in AJGA events prior to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. Living three hours from each other, the two became friends from sharing the same coach, Mike Schy, the longtime instructor to two-time USGA champion Bryson DeChambeau, and by playing in the same junior tournaments. It was Lim who first contacted Talley last year about trying to qualify.

“We came here to win, but it’s kind of crazy that we actually won,” said Lim. “We play our local [Northern California] tournaments. Just from there on [we had a partnership].”  

Qualifying won’t be in their future as both are now exempt into the 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., and the U.S. Girls’ Junior at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., as well as the next 10 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Balls.

While the birdies didn’t accumulate in the final, they made enough to secure the title.

After going 1 down on the second hole when Kort drained a 30-footer from the fringe, Lim answered with a 25-footer of her own on No. 6 to tie the match.

The battle then turned on the par-4 seventh green. Kort had picked up her ball after missing a par putt. With Lim and Talley already in with a 4, McGovern missed her birdie attempt. Lim and Talley had left the green at this point, and McGovern, a 2024 Texas Christian University signee, thought she heard a concession call by her opponents. When she picked up, Lim’s father/caddie, James Lim, alerted a Rules official of the faux pas.

A breach of Rule 9-4 turned into a loss-of-hole situation for McGovern and Kort, who suddenly found themselves 1 down.

“I could have sworn I heard them say, ‘That’s good,’” said Kort, who is No. 719 in the WAGR. “That was the biggest momentum switch.”

McGovern said it emotionally rattled the side, and they never recovered, despite the match having plenty of holes remaining.

“We just tried to stay positive,” said McGovern, the 2023 Heather Farr Classic champion who is No. 478 in the WAGR. “We tried to keep each other up. We still had fun out there.”

Talley got up and down for birdie from a greenside bunker on the 270-yard eighth hole, converting a 5-footer for a 2-up advantage. The status stayed that way until the 14th hole when Lim converted from 5 feet.

Both McGovern, a veteran of two U.S. Women’s Amateurs and a U.S. Girls’ Junior, and Kort, a 2025 Texas A&M verbal commit who was playing in her fourth USGA championship, had birdie putts from 9 and 8 feet on the par-5 15th, only to miss them both.

With Lim and Talley both inside 10 feet for birdie on No. 16, McGovern had to make her uphill 18-footer – Kort missed the green and the ensuing flop shot came up 3 feet short – to extend the match. When she missed, they conceded the birdie putts and the match.

Lim and Talley earned their place in the final with a 3-and-2 victory over Tennesseans Lauren Slatton, 17, of McMinnville, and Savannah Cherry, 18, of Brentwood.

After going extra holes in their three matches leading into the semis, Slatton, a 2025 verbal commitment to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Savannah Cherry, a 2024 High Point University signee, struggled early with bogeys on four of the first nine holes to go 5 down at the turn. That deficit proved to be too difficult, even though they birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to trim the deficit to three holes.

“I don’t think we played badly,” said Slatton. “I just think we didn’t prepare enough. If we would have hit the range a little earlier, I think some of those bogeys would have been avoidable.”

Sydney Hackett, 19, of Ashburn, Va., and Melanie Walker, 20, of Burke, Va., also got out of the starting gate slow with consecutive bogeys in their 2-and-1 semifinal loss to Kort and McGovern. Even when the rising college juniors – Hackett at Western Kentucky and Walker at Missouri – got themselves back into the match on 12 and 13 to trim the deficit to 1 down, cold putters couldn’t complete the comeback.

What Champion Side Receives

  • A gold medal
  • Custody of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Trophy for one year
  • 10-year exemption from qualifying for U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball (provided side remains intact)
  • Exemption for each player into 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
  • Exemptions into the 2024 U.S. Girls’ Junior at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.
  • Their names inscribed on a plaque recognizing all 2024 USGA champions that will reside in the Hall of Champions at the USGA Golf Museum & Library in Liberty Corner, N.J.   

Notable

  • Runners-up Brynn Kort and Gracie McGovern received silver medals and a three-year exemption from qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, provided the side remains intact.
  • The two semifinal-losing sides, Savannah Cherry and Lauren Slatton, and Sydney Hackett and Melanie Walker, received bronze medals and exemptions into the next two U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championships, provided the partnerships remain intact. The 2025 championship will be contested at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club in Nichols Hills, Okla., May 10-14, while the 2026 event is scheduled for May 2-6 at the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, S.C.
  • Registration is open for the 2025 championship. Entries close on Aug. 7 at 5 p.m. EDT. To be eligible, each member of the side must have a Handicap Index that does not exceed 14.4.
  • Several prominent touring professionals are members or were members of Oak Hills Country Club. That list includes current Golf Channel lead analyst Brandel Chamblee, who briefly was a member after playing at the University of Texas. He called Oak Hills one of his “favorite courses.” PGA champion Jimmy Walker, 2021 USA Walker Cup alternate/current pro Mac Meissner and LIV Golf player Abraham Ancer are current members. The players’ bags are prominently displayed just around the corner from the pro shop, along with memorabilia from the 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur held at the club.
  • Asterisk Talley won’t have much time off from competitive golf as she and her mom, Brandii, booked a 9 p.m. flight to New Jersey so she can compete in the Mizuho Americas Open – AJGA Juniors, a prestigious event that coincides with the LPGA Tour event at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City. Talley is one of six U.S. National Junior Team members in the field, including 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champion Gianna Clemente. Talley has a 1:55 p.m. EDT starting time on Thursday, giving her some time to properly rest. Vanessa Borovilos, who advanced to the quarterfinals this week with Cara Heisterkamp, also is in the field.

Quotable

“I feel like making the turn we were kind of tired. When we really thought we were going to win [the match] … I feel like that gave us an adrenaline boost. We got our energy [back] like it was only the first round again.” – Asterisk Talley on the fatigue of playing seven competitive rounds in five days

“It was definitely motivational because I think we were feeling a little bit down the first few holes. We were 1 down. It was a really close match, too.” – Sarah Lim on the 25-foot birdie putt on No. 6 that tied the match  

“Yeah, we’re arriving at 2 a.m., so I’ll definitely get some sleep on the plane. I’ll probably be out the whole time, and I’ll have some time to rest before my [1:55 p.m.] tee time.” – Talley on playing in the Mizuho Americas Open Junior at Liberty National that begins on Thursday

“We had an amazing week. Nothing short of that.” – Brynn Kort on the week

“Great people here, and the hole-in-one.” – Gracie McGovern, who aced the par-3 ninth in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, on her favorite memories from the week

“We can fight. I think fighting is really important…We just kept on saying it’s just not making the cut, this is do-or-die. We missed a couple putts coming in. But hey, we took it to 17 after being 3 down early and we gave a good fight. But we bogeyed our first two holes, and you just shouldn’t do that out here.” – Melanie Walker

“We’re happy. We didn’t think we’d make it to Wednesday. I actually was planning to go back today, and the fact that we made it here today, that’s great.” – Lauren Slatton on run to the semis

About the USGA

The USGA is a mission-based golf organization whose purpose is to unify the golf community through handicapping and grassroots programs; to showcase the game’s best talent through the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally and 13 other national championships and our museum; to provide unbiased global governance with The R&A through the playing, equipment and Amateur Status rules; and to advance issues important to golf’s future, with a focus on driving sustainability, accessibility and inclusion. As a nonprofit association, our work and our team are driven to act for the good of the game. For more, visit usga.org.

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