Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | ePaper
Kupcho wins historic first Augusta National Golf title
Jennifer Kupcho celebrates her win during the Augusta National Women's Amateur Golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on Saturday.
American Jennifer Kupcho became the first woman to capture a championship at former all-male enclave Augusta National Golf Club, outdueling Mexico's Maria Fassi on Saturday to win at the famed home of the Masters.
In a dramatic battle between two 21-year-old US collegiate stars, Kupcho had three birdies and an eagle in the last six holes in firing a five-under par 67 to finish 54 holes on 10-under 206 for a four-stroke victory over Fassi, who fired her third consecutive 70.
"It's just amazing. It's just great to be able to do that," Kupcho said. "It's a feeling I can't describe."
Japanese teen Yuka Yasuda and Yuka Saso of the Philippines shared a distant third on 214.
The amateur tournament was the first women's trophy ever contested at Augusta National, which opened in 1933 but didn't admit its first female members until 2012.
A field of 72 played the first 36 holes at nearby Champions Retreat before the top 30 advanced to the last 18 holes at the famed Masters layout.
Women's world amateur number one Kupcho, the reigning US college champion, and Fassi, last year's US women's college golfer of the year, staged a dramatic duel in a historic moment.
"The ending wasn't what I would have liked but it was still amazing to compete at Augusta for the first time," Fassi said. "I'm just really happy. We played amazing golf. It really is a dream come true."
Deadlocked with three holes to play, Kupcho sank a tense six-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th while Fassi missed a short par putt, leaving the American two shots ahead. Both parred 17 and Fassi made bogey at 18 before Kupcho concluded with a roar-raising 20-foot birdie putt.
"I did all I could," Fassi said. "She played a great game. I know we're going to be battling in the future."
- Augusta history -
Kupcho received the champion's trophy in Butler Cabin, where Masters winners are presented with green jackets, and Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley told her, "You're part of Augusta National history now."
LPGA legends Pak Se-ri, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Nancy Lopez hit ceremonial first tee shots to launch the historic round, although it was American Anna Redding who hit the first competitive shot at Augusta National.
"It's just exciting to be a part of history," Lopez said.