Minnesota Golf Association

Danielson Earns Second Straight Trip to U.S. Women's Open; Iowa State's Arozamena Advances in Playoff

May 14, 2018



 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  STILLWATER, Minn. – Although she grew up on golf courses in neighboring Wisconsin and played collegiate golf at Stanford University, Casey Danielson seems to enjoy the comforts, and successes, of playing in Minnesota.  
 
In 2016 Danielson posted a round of even par 72 at Forest Hills Golf Club to earn a spot in her seventh consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. A year ago, during her first event as a professional, Danielson carded a 2-under par 142 at the Legends Club to qualify for her first U.S. Women’s Open.
 
The trend continued Monday at Stillwater Country Club as Danielson fired rounds of 73 and 68, respectively, to earn her second straight trip to the U.S. Women’s Open by claiming medalist honors at 3-under par 141.
 
“I knew I was hitting it really well and felt good about my game. I knew if I could get it together that I could make some birdies,” Danielson said of her mindset entering the second round Monday. “I was pretty excited to go out and play. I feel comfortable on this course and hoped to go out and make some birdies, but play very consistent.”
 
A native of Osceola, Wis., Danielson played the front nine of Monday’s morning round at 1-over par before trading a birdie with a bogey over the final nine to post an early round of 73.
 
Danielson rolled in a 25-footer for birdie on the second hole during Monday’s afternoon round before tapping in a short birdie birdie at the seventh to move into red figures. Blasting a 7-iron to 15 feet at the par-4 ninth, Danielson converted her birdie chance to turn at 3-under for the round.
 
“I was playing really solid, so if the putts fall, they fall, and if not, just keep it steady and that’s all you can do,” Danielson said. “Then I birdied ten and then it started raining. The mindset changes a little bit—you’ve got a lot more to worry about and there are some tough holes out there that get a little longer.
 
“I made two good up-and-downs for par and just a lot of two-putts. I felt really comfortable and positive and excited to be out there, which is not easy being a 36-hole day.”
 
In December Danielson earned her status on the Ladies European Tour by winning Lalla Aicha Tour School in Morocco to claim her card for the 2018 season. Playing in four co-sanctioned events in Australia, Danielson notched three top-15 finishes, including runner-up at the Women’s NSW Open, climbing to 14th on the LET Order of Merit and launched her as a front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors.  
 
“This will be my second [U.S. Women’s Open] and both I’ve played as a pro and I think I’ve gained some experience from last year, as well as playing on the European tour.”   
 
Danielson said her goal is to ultimately play professionally in the United States, but she’s enjoying her time playing across the globe. She will compete in a Symetra Tour event in Michigan shortly after the U.S. Women’s Open before competing in the Ladies Scottish Open in July.  
 
At the national championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., last July, Danielson carded an opening-round 76 before coming back with a round of 73, but would miss the weekend cut by three strokes.
 
After shooting a gloomy round of 78 to begin the qualifier Monday, the only thing 21-year-old Spaniard Celia Barquin Arozamena thought to do was call her mother.
 
“I said I was sad and disappointed and very sorry,” Arozamena said Monday. “She told me it was fine and to go back out there. Then five minutes before my [second round] she texted me and said, ‘You’re only six shots away. There are a lot of players but you’ve done that before and if you have the best round of your life it’s possible.'”

Arozamena didn’t quite match her career-best round of 65, but she did set a new course record at Stillwater Country Club by firing a 6-under par 66 to finish in a tie for second with Emma Albrecht at even par 144 before carding a birdie on the first playoff hole to claim the final qualifying spot for the national championship later this month.
 
“I went out there super relaxed. I didn’t think I was going anywhere so I had fun and I played amazing,” she said.
 
Arozamena got started by sticking her approach inside of three feet at the second before rolling in a 20-footer for birdie at the par-5 fifth. Gaining momentum with her putter on the front nine despite a bogey at the ninth, Arozamena dropped her birdie from 25 feet at the 10th to get to 4-over for the tournament.
 
With a 54 degree wedge in her hands at the par-4 12th, Arozamena holed her approach from 100 yards to quickly move into contention, going 4-under during a four-hole stretch. Knocking a 6-iron inside of two feet at the par-3 13th led to another tap-in birdie and Arozamena would finish the day at 6-under par after nearly carding an ace at the par-3 17th.
 
“After the eagle all of the sudden I’m 4-under—if I stay calm this could be something, I don’t know what other people are doing, but there’s a chance,” Arozamena said. “It was the best [back] nine holes of my life. I shot 7-under once, but this is the best round of my life.”
 
Qualifying for her first USGA event after wrapping up her senior season at Iowa State University last week, Arozamena couldn’t put into words what qualifying for the biggest tournament in the U.S. equates to.
 
“I don’t know—I was just excited there was a tournament in Minneapolis,” Arozamena laughed, “I still have to process it.”
 
Emma Albrecht, Ormond Beach, Fla., and Grace Kellar, Edina, Minn., finished as first and second alternates, respectively.
 
The 2018 U.S. Women’s Open will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Shoal Creek, Ala.

 

Download Full Results: US Women's Open Final Results - Stillwater.pdf


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