Sambach & Virginia Dominating Annika Intercollegiate

September 13, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle


LAKE ELMO -- Amanda Sambach seems determined to take all the suspense out of the Annika Intercollegiate.

The Annika brings together some of the best teams in Women's NCAA Division I golf at the beginning of each college season, and a lot of the best individuals. Hannah Darling, a University of South Carolina sophomore who was a Golfweek first-team All-American as a freshman and is No. 15 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, shot a 6-under-par 66 at Royal Golf Club on Tuesday, and her 36-hole total of 139 (5 under) has her in a three-way tie with her South Carolina teammate Mathilde Claisse and Wake Forest's Lauren Walsh.

Claisse shot 67 on Tuesday, and Walsh matched Darling's 66. One shot behind the threesome at 139 are Michigan's Monet Chun, who finished second in the U.S. Women's Amateur exactly one month ago, and Bohyun Park of Texas. And there are another 10 players within four strokes of them.

All of the elements would have been there for a dramatilc final round on Wednesday -- except that Sambach spent the first two days of the tournament separating herself from the field. She will go into the final round with a six-shot lead, at 133, after she torched the back nine at Royal with four birdies and no bogeys on Tuesday and followed her opening-round 65 with a 68. 

Sambach had a pretty successful freshman year at Virginia (she received All-American honorable mention) with a summer that included a third-place finish at the North & South Women's Amateur and a 17th-place finish in the stroke-play portion of the U.S. Women Amateur. But if she had putted better, it could have been a great freshman year and summer. 

So as she was getting ready for the 2022-23 college season, she got a couple of putting lessons and switched putters, from a mallet to a blade -- and suddenly, she has become a very good putter.

"It has completely changed everything," she said Monday. "I have never putted this well. It has been a huge change, but it's been good so far."

It was good again Tuesday, although it took her a little longer to get going than it did in the first round. She birdied the 516-yard, par-5 second hole, but she didn't make any more birdies on the front nine, and she suffered her only bogey in the 36 holes thus far at the 406-yard, par-4 eighth. The back nine was a different story, and she saved her best for last. She birdied the par-4 11th hole (410 yards), then parred the next three, before rattling off three birdies in the last three holes -- the drivable par-4 15th (296 yards), and Royal's two concluding par 5s: the 528-yard 17th and the 451-yard 18th. 

"She really has committed herself to becoming a great putter," Virginia coach Ria Scott  said. "That has been the difference maker her in the first few weeks since we've been back. Her ball-striking has always been exceptional, but now she's getting the putts to fall." 

With Sambach setting the pace, the Wahoos, as Virginia students like to call their teams -- rather than use the official nickname: Cavaliers -- are leading the team competition. They followed a first-day 284 with a 283 on Tuesday and lead second-place Wake Forest  by six shots, 567 to 573. There are three more teams within 10 of Virginia -- South Carolina at 574, and both Michigan and Duke at 576.   

Minnesota is the host team for the Annika, and the Gophers have put themselves in with a very fast crowd. Golfweek has a pre-season top 30, and all 11 of the other teams in this tournament are in there. It is indicative of how tough this field is that the highest-ranked team, No. 2 Oregon, is in eighth place, 14 shots behind at 581. 

Virginia is No. 14 in the rankings. Wake Forest is No. 3 and South Carolina No. 4.

Minnesota, which isn't ranked (the Gophers were No. 101 in the final 2021-22 rankings), are 12th out of 12 teams, but they could move up on Wednesday. At 603, they are within 10 shots of 10th-place Auburn. 

Emma Carpenter, a senior from DeKalb, Ill., shot 73 on Tuesday, and at 147, she's tied for 27th. But that's only five strokes out of a tie for ninth. Leah Herzog, a senior -- and former Minnesota Ms. Golf -- from Red Wing, had an eventful first round. In her first 12 holes, she made two birdies, six pars, one bogey -- and three doubles. She finished the round bogey-birdie on the 17th and 18th holes for a 77. But she bounced back with a 73 on Tuesday, despite making her fourth double of the tournament on the 13th hole (400 yards, par 4), and she's tied for 44th at 150.  



Annika Intercollegiate 

At Royal Golf Club 

Par 72, 6,4089 yards

Lake Elmo

Second-round results (Golfweek pre-season rankings for teams are in parenthesis)


1. Virginia (14)                                  284-283--567 (-9)

2. Wake Forest (3)                           294-279--573

3. South Carolina (4)                        295-279--574

T4. Michigan (15)                             288-288--576

T4. Duke (28)                                   292-284--576

6. Texas (16)                                    288-291--579

7. Florida (19)                                   294-286--580

8. Oregon (2)                                    292-289--581

9. Arizona State (6)                          300-285--585

10. Auburn (12)                                303-290--593

11. Alabama (26)                              303-293--596

12. Minnesota (not in top 30)        304-299--603

Individuals


1. Amanda Sambach, Virginia           65-68--133

T2. Hannah Darling, So. Carolina    73-66--139

T2. Lauren Walsh, Wake Forest      73-66--139

T2. Mathilde Claisse, So. Carolina  72-67--139

T5. Monet Chun, Michigan              72-68--140

T5. Bohyun Park, Texas                   69-71--140

T7. Massie Filler, Florida                 74-67--141

T7. Phiebe Brinker, Duke                 72-69--141

T9. Emilia Migliaccio, Wake Forest  74-68--142

T9. Megan Schofill, Auburn              72-70--142

T27. Emma Carpenter, Minnesota 74-73--147

T44. Leah Herzog, Minnesota        77-73-150

T52. Bella McCauley, Minnesota    76-76--152

T54. Mariana Mesones, Minnesota 77-77--154

59. Grace Curran, Minnesota           79-81--160






 

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website, mngolf.org, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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