Goose Creek’s Katelyn Dambaugh falls in U.S. Women’s Amateur Round of 32

Goose Creek’s Katelyn Dambaugh reacts to a short putt on the 15th hole while she plays Alison Lee on Thursday in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Round of 32 at the Country Club of Charleston. Lee birdied the 19th hole to defeat Dambaugh. Buy this photo

Katelyn Dambaugh’s emotional ride in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship came to an end early Thursday afternoon when Alison Lee birdied the 19th hole of their match in the Round of 32.

If you go

WHEN: Friday-Sunday

WHERE: Country Club of Charleston

TODAY’S SCHEDULE: Quarterfinal matches begin at 1:45 p.m.

ADMISSION: Free

PARKING: No parking at the Country Club. Public parking is available at the vacant space located at Folly Road and Albemarle Road, with shuttles running every 15 minutes from 5:15 a.m. until 9 p.m.

TV: The Golf Channel (4-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday)

Dambaugh, an 18-year-old from Goose Creek, battled Lee toe-to-toe for most of the day but was unable to take a lead on her opponent from Valencia, Calif. Now she will spend the next few days looking forward to moving into her dorm room at the University of South Carolina next week.

Lee, who will be a freshman at UCLA this fall, is playing in her sixth Women’s Amateur. She also has played in six U.S. Girls’ Juniors, three U.S. Women’s Opens and this year will be competing in her third Junior Solheim Cup. Lee won her afternoon match to advance to the quarterfinals.

Medalist Yumi Matsubara lost in the Round of 32, falling to U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Lauren Diaz-Li, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4 and 3 win over Kendall Prince.

Doris Chen, who beat Dambaugh in the final of the 2010 Girls’ Junior, also made it to the quarterfinals. Other quarterfinalists include Yueer Cindy Feng, Annie Park, Katelyn Sepmoree, Emma Talley and Su-Hyun Oh, the No. 2-ranked women’s amateur player in the world.

Emma Talley, a University of Alabama golfer, won her Round of 32 match by an 8 and 7 margin, the biggest Women’s Amateur victory since Cindy Lacrosse scored a 9 and 7 win in 2008.

Friday’s quarterfinal matches are scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m. Saturday’s semifinals will begin at 10 a.m. The first 18 holes of Sunday’s 36-hole championship will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the final 18 starting at 2:30 p.m.

On Thursday, Dambaugh could have used a mulligan on a few shots.

“I gave a few shots away. I had a three-putt. Luckily I got up and down on 16 to get that back. I hit a couple of wild shots out there,” Dambaugh said.

“I kept coming back at her and kept fighting hard. That’s all I could ask. She’s one of the top amateurs in the country and I went 19 holes with her. Just the fact I hung with her means a lot.”

Lee said it was quite a contrast between her morning and afternoon matches. In the morning there was a large local crowd following Dambaugh, while in the afternoon match it was only her mother and opponent Alexandra Harkins’ mother watching.

“That’s just how golf is. I’ve played in tournaments where I’ve had a huge gallery following me. I tried to tune it out and play my own game. Personally, I like having a crowd,” Lee said.

Dambaugh, the former Pinewood Prep star, never led in the match. Lee won the fifth and seventh holes to take a 2-up lead. Dambaugh finally made her only birdie of the day on the ninth hole to make the turn 1-down.

Dambaugh and Lee took turns getting up and down to halve the next two holes with Lee scrambling for par on the 10th and Dambaugh hitting an excellent chip to save par on the 11th.

Dambaugh squared the match with a par on the 12th hole only to see Lee move back up by one hole with a birdie on the 13. Dambaugh missed a golden opportunity to square the match from about eight feet on 15, and then finally pulled even again with a brilliant par on the 16th hole.

Both players missed the green, Lee hitting her approach into the right greenside bunker and Dambaugh sending her second shot over the green. Dambaugh managed to get up and down for par to win the hole.

The next two holes were halved with pars, sending the match to sudden death. Dambaugh missed the green with a poor approach shot, while Lee hit a perfect shot to within six feet. Needing only a two-putt to win the hole, she rolled it in for birdie.

Dambaugh wore “8-8” (Aug. 8) and “Finish Strong” on her cap in memory of her close friend Major David Gray, who was killed Afghanistan exactly one year ago.

“I know David knows I tried really hard. That’s all I could have done,” Dambaugh said.

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