Briana Chacon of Whittier claimed Medalist honors in the 123rd United States Women’s Amateur at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, but that didn’t carry much weight in the first round of match play among the top 64 players that will determine the national championship.
Chacon, a 21-year-old graduate student at Oregon, had to go 19 holes to turn back No. 64-seeded Olivia Duan of Cupertino, who only got into the match play portion of the tournament by beating Angela Heo of Austin, Texas, with a par on the second playoff hole.
It was much easier for Chacon, who won the 2022 Women’s Southwest Regional for Oregon, in stroke play as she set a tournament record of 66-65—131, 9-under-par, to claim Medalist honors by two strokes over Andrea Lignell of Sweden, who finished at 68-65—133.
Chacon’s 131 broke the record of 133 set by Mariel Galdiano in 2016 that was matched by Lucy Li and Selin Hyun two years later.
Duan, a junior at Cupertino High School who has committed to Princeton, won the Women’s Division of the San Francisco City Championships earlier this year and seemed on her way to an upset of Chacon by building her second 2-up lead through 12 holes in the first round of match play.
However, Chacon claimed the next two holes with a par and a birdie to pull even, and they halved the last four holes of regulation to reach the playoff, where Chacon was able to advance by making a birdie.
“Yeah, so starting off my front nine it was a little rough,” said Chacon, who also won the 2019 ACDS Junior Championship. “I had a few bogeys on the front nine and it was just kind of weird. But on the back nine, I was doing some catch-up work for sure. I had a few birdies go in, luckily, and had some really good approach shots, and just made some more clutch putts on the back nine.
“I think I was just like a lot more focused. I think I figured out my swing a little bit better because I was just missing it right on the front nine and I was able it fix that on the back nine. But I was just like way more focused and I just kind of like turned it on.
“And we just had one playoff hole on No. 1 and that was it. … I’m not going to do too much differently tomorrow. I mean, in match play I just like to stay very even keeled, just only focus on myself. I try not to get too like caught up with the other player and just try to focus on myself and minimizing my mistakes and just trying to do the best that I can do.”
No. 63 Charlotte Cantonis pulled off the biggest upset of the day by knocking off No. 2 Lignell of Sweden, 4 and 3, while No. 55 Bailey Shoemaker of Dade City, Fla., knocked off No. 10 Malia Nam of Kailua, Kona, Hawaii, 1 up, in the only matches lost by top-10 seeded players.
In other matches, No. 3 Gianna Clemente of Estero, Fla, who won the Girls PGA Championship last week, downed No. 62 Jensen Castle of Columbia, S.C., 4 and 3; No. 4 Katie Cranston of Canada beat No. 61 Brooke Rivers, also of Canada, 3 and 2; No. 5 Caroline Canales of Calabasas defeated No. 60 Bentley Cotton of Austin, Texas, 1 up; No. 6 Megan Schofil of Monticello, Fla., routed No. 59 Jackie Rogowicz of Yardley, Pa., 7-6; No. 7 Hailey Borja of Lake Forest got past No. 58 Megan Meng of Pennington, N.J., 1 up; No. 8 Nikki Oh of Torrance edged No. 57 Ching-Zhu Chen of China, 2 and 1, and No. 9 Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tenn., and Stanford needed 21 holes to take out No. 56 Sera Hasagawa of Japan.
Also, No. 46 Anna Davis of Spring Valley, winner of the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, defeated No. 19 Amanda Sambach of Pinehurst, N.C., 3 and 2; No. 16 Catherine Rao of Camarillo beat No. 49 Jeneath Wong of Malaysia on the 20th hole; No. 37 Taylor Riley of San Diego got past No. 28 Morgan Millr of Austin, Texas, on the 19th hole; No. 14 Camille Boyd of Yorba Linda trounced No. 51 Lucy Yan of San Diego, 6 and 5, and No. 27 Kelly Yu of Claremont got past her Stanford teammate, No. 38 Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J., 3 and 2.
For complete results and second-round tee times, visit: https://championships.usga.org/uswomensamateur/2023/scoring.html