A 64 Sends McCauley Sisters to U.S. Women's Four-Ball Championship
October 3, 2022 | 4 min.
By Nick Hunter
CHASKA, Minn. – While they’ve logged more rounds playing against each other on the golf course growing up, sisters Isabella and Reese McCauley enjoyed three seasons together as teammates at Simley High School, each winning a Class AAA individual state title.
Teaming up once again Monday at Chaska Town Course, the McCauleys combined to shoot a bogey-free 8-under par 64 to earn medalist honors as well as a spot in the 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
The sisters will head to DuPont, Wash., May 13-17 to compete in the national tournament at The Home Course, site of three previous USGA championships.
“We’re super close, so it’ll be a really fun experience,” Isabella McCauley said following her round Monday. “We traveled and played in the [U.S. Girls’ Junior] together this year, but it’ll be fun playing on the same team. I think if we can play how I know we can play, we have a chance to go far.”
“A lot of tournaments we’re playing against each other, so it’ll be fun to play together. We work really well together and because we have opposite strengths, we complement each other,” younger sister Reese said.
Isabella McCauley, who began her collegiate career at the University of Minnesota last month, entered the week coming off a career-best round of 63 during her third event for the Gopher women Sunday at the Evie Odom Invitational in Virginia Beach, Va.
“I putted really well Saturday and Sunday and kind of carried the good vibes over here,” Isabella McCauley said. “I putted well again today and made some birdies, which really helped.”
The eldest McCauley has qualified for three U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateurs over the past four seasons, but most notably earned a spot in the 2021 U.S Women’s Open, becoming the youngest Minnesotan to accomplish the feat. She would miss the cut by two strokes at the historic Olympic Club near San Francisco.
A trip out West next spring will be Reese McCauley’s second appearance at a USGA championship, earning a spot in her first event earlier this season when she qualified by defeating older sister Isabella in a playoff at Woodhill Country Club to advance to the U.S. Girls’ Junior.
The younger McCauley, a high school junior who is home-schooled but plays for Simley (because the McCauleys live in the Simley district), fired a 4-under 69 during the final round of stroke play at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., in July to qualify the the match play portion of the championship, winning three matches to advance to the quarterfinal round before falling to Columbia’s Maria Jose Marin, 2 and 1.
“I’ve never experienced a tournament at that level and intensity,” she said.
During the qualifier Monday, Isabella McCauley birdied both par-3’s during the front nine at Chaska Town Course to help move her team to 2-under before younger sister Reese countered with birdies at the seventh and eighth.
Isabella tallied her third birdie of the round with a lengthy putt from 30 feet at the ninth to turn in 5-under before she carded back-to-back birdies at the 11th and 12th, putting the two at 7-under for the day.
The sisters each carded birdie at the par-4 16th for good measure to reach 8-under, helping them to a five-stroke victory with a round of 64.
“Being able to help each other when the other was in trouble—that was really huge,” Isabella McCauley said. “We both had a couple of bogeys, but the other person played well on those holes. It worked out really well.”
“The putts were rolling in—especially for Bella,” Reese McCauley said. “Kind of jokingly, Bella told me, ‘All right, 8-under today,’ when we were on the range, so it was fun to set that goal and then end up getting it.”
Riley Lewis, from Edwardsville, Ill., and Shannyn Vogler, of Moline, Ill., played their first 13 holes in even par Monday before rattling off three consecutive birdies beginning at the 14th hole, helping them to a round of 3-under 69 to earn a share of second place with Minnesotans Ava Hanneman and Kathryn VanArragon.
Lewis and Vogler made birdie on the first playoff hole to finish as first alternates, while Hanneman and VanArragon earned second alternate honors.
Hanneman, from Orono, Minn., and VanArragon, of Blaine, Minn., started with a string of early birdies to quickly move to 3-under for the tournament, but would play their first four holes of their back nine in 3-over.
The two would battle back by capitalizing on three consecutive birdie chances to boost them to a round of 3-under 69.
Qualifying Spots: 1 Alternates: 2