Blumenherst falls short at U.S. Am

Amanda Blumenherst found her groove in the 36-hole match play final of the 2007 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. Unfortunately for the Duke junior, her competitor did, too.

Blumenherst three-putted on the 35th hole during the final round Aug. 12, allowing Maria Jose Uribe to draw ahead with a par putt that put her ahead for good to win the title at the at the 6,595-yard, Par-72 Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.

Although Blumenherst left the tournament without a title, Duke head women's golf coach Dan Brooks still was impressed by her performance.

"It was the best golf I'd seen someone play for so many holes," Brooks said. "95 percent of that golf out there was amazing. She split the fairways with long drives. She stuck it close with her approach shots. She made really, really good putts.

"Uribe had to play great golf, and Amanda just had some putts get away from her on the last nine."

Blumenherst's short game was her undoing in the final round. The reigning National Player of the Year missed putts on the 29th, 30th and 31st holes, allowing Uribe to climb into the lead at 1-up after the 13th hole. Blumenherst evened the score on the following hole, but Uribe took final control after the 35th.

"I felt like I was putting great strokes on them and they just weren't going in," Blumenherst said after the final round. "I lipped just so many. It was getting very frustrating. And I mean, really, if those putts, instead of lipping out had gone in, I putted just as well as the last few days. [It's] the law of averages, I guess."

Blumenherst played with a large cheering section-all dressed in polo shirts to match the junior's Sunday green. Her family has deep ties to the area, and she grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., about two hours away from Crooked Stick.

"It was just a great experience having family dinners," Blumenherst said. "We thought, should we split up a table of eight and seven so we can get food faster? But we decided to all sit together. Little stuff like that makes it fun."

Blumenherst, however, won't have much time to dwell on the results of the tournament.

The collegiate season begins three weeks from today, when the Blue Devils travel to Nashville, Tenn. to compete in the Mason Rudolph Championship.

Although the team will only compete in one match play tournament this season, Brooks feels that the experience will benefit the mental aspect of Blumenherst's game.

"That's part of the nice thing about match play," Brooks said. "Part of it is an endurance test. You're trying to see who can stay with it mentally until the end. It's certainly more challenging mentally than a stroke-play tournament."

Blumenherst agrees that the pressure cooker atmosphere of the U.S. Amateur will pay off once the college season kicks off.

"The more experience you have in a tournament situation, the better you're going to become, handling the pressure and being able to play well," Blumenherst said. "Especially national championships, hitting a drive, knowing that your team is counting on you, it definitely gives--prepares you to have confidence and also know what's at stake."


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