Minnesota Golf Association

Texan Tomanka Medals, Four Others Qualify for U.S. Women's Amateur

July 5, 2018

By Nick Hunter
  EDINA, Minn. – Firing a round of 1-over par 73 Thursday at Edina Country Club, Gabriella Tomanka earned medalist honors as well as a spot in the 118th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.
A field of 57 players competed for one of five qualifying spots to this year’s national championship, which will be played August 6-12 at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs, Tenn.
Tomanka , a 16-year-old from Grapevine, Texas, traded a pair of bogeys with two birdies on her front nine Thursday before carding a couple of bogeys to begin her back nine. She bounced back by rolling in a birdie putt from five feet at the 14th to shoot 74, earning medalist honors and will make her third national championship appearance.
“We came here for the experience and I didn’t really expect to qualify. I’m very happy that I did, but it’s very unexpected,” Tomanka said Thursday. “It’s amazing and I’m really excited and this gives me more motivation to work harder to play well in this tournament.
“I made a lot of crucial putts and made some good decisions coming down the back nine. I made a few good par saves, as well as some nice birdie putts and played the course really smart.”
Tomanka qualified for the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., as well as the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.
“Before the round I got my putting tool and the last tournament I played in, I didn’t and then I didn’t play that well. I think it made the difference because I made a lot of short putts, as well as some longer putts.”
Joining Tomanka at the tournament next month will be Penn State University golfer Lauren Waller, Texan Makenzie Niblett and Wisconsin’s Emily Lauterbach, as each carded rounds of 2-over par 74 Thursday. Avery Zweig, an 11-year-old from McKinney, Texas, shot 3-over par 75 to earn the final qualifying position after surviving a three-hole playoff with three other players.
Waller, of Canonsburg, Pa., played her first 15 holes at 1-under before taking a bogey at the 16th and a double at the 17th to finish at 2-over par 74 and qualify for her first national championship.
“I played pretty decent—I got it going on a roll for a while, gliding along the course and I was 1-under with three holes left,” Waller said Thursday. “I thought my short game was good and I had 28 putts and I had a lot of up-and-downs. I only hit nine greens, so I had to save myself on that. My short game was definitely my strong suit today.”
“The bogey at 16 was fine, I hit a bad drive, but [double-bogey] at 17 was rough. I thought I choked and blew it, luckily a 74 got me in—I didn’t expect that. Going in to the last few holes at even par, I felt pretty good.”
Waller birdied her first hole of the day, rolling in an 8-footer before taking a pair of bogeys at the sixth and ninth holes to turn at 1-over.
“I felt confident heading to the [back nine] because I knew I left a few shots out there on the front and was ready to get them back,” Waller said. “There are three par-5’s on the back, which is my strong suit, getting it down there close and having a small wedge in.”
Carding a pair of birdies at the 12th and 14th, Waller moved below par for the round before her struggles down the stretch to finish in a tie for second at 74.
“I’ve been playing well recently in the last few tournaments and at home and felt good about my game, so I expected to qualify because I haven’t up to this point and I’m going to be a senior in college, so I figure it’s now or never,” she said.
The 21-year-old soon-to-be senior at Penn State qualifies for her first USGA event after a number of attempts at both the U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
“I’m excited to qualify and have one teammate that is going, too. It’s one of those tournaments that’s great to have on your resume.”
Niblett, a 16-year-old from Austin, Texas, played her outward nine at 1-over and would go on to play her final nine holes at 1-over despite carding three birdies to make her first appearance at a national tournament.
“For the most part I played pretty solid. I missed a few shots, but my putting was really good and I had two chip-ins, which was fun,” Niblett said. “This is a big thing for me and I’m very excited to go play in Tennessee. I have not made a decision where I would like to go to college and I feel if I play well that it will help with recruiting.”
 “This definitely helps with boost my confidence and helps me see where my game needs to be. I’ve always been driven and motivated to keep pushing.”
Early troubles on the putting surface led to four bogeys for the 17-year-old Lauterbach, playing the first 11 holes at 5-over par before she would heat up and string together three consecutive birdies late on the back nine. Finishing in a tie for second place with a round of 2-over par 74, Lauterbach qualified for her first USGA championship.  
Julie Houston, of Allen, Texas, and Taylor Ledwein, from New Prague, Minn., finished as first and second alternates, respectively.
6,146 YARDS, PAR 72

1. Gabriella Tomanka, Grapevine, Texas, 35-38—73 (medalist)
T2. Emily Lauterbach, Hartland, Wis., 38-36—74 (qualifier)
T2. Lauren Waller, Canonsburg, Pa., 36-38—74 (qualifier)
T2. Makenzie Niblett, Austin, Texas, 36-38—74 (qualifier)
T5. Avery Zweig, McKinney, Texas, 37-38—75 (qualifier)
T5. Julie Houston, Allen, Texas, 36-39—75 (first alternate)
T5. Taylor Ledwein, New Prague, Minn., 36-39—75 (second alternate)
T5. Stephanie Herzog, Red Wing, Minn., 35-40—75


Download Full Results: US Women_s Amateur Sectional Qualifying Leaderboard 3.pdf

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