Villegas Beats Sung, 4 and 3, to Win 57th California Women’s Amateur

Kate Villegas of Arcadia is on a roll.

Villegas, who has transferred from UC Riverside to UCLA where she will be a senior, defeated Lauren Sung of Palo Alto and the University of Michigan, 4 and 3, to capture the 57th California Women’s Amateur at La Cumbre Country Club in Santa Barbara.

Earlier in the month, Villegas won her second straight Southern California Golf Association Match Play Championship and has come out on top in 17 of the 18 matches she has played in Southern California Golf Association and United States Golf Association matches over the last two years..

“It means everything,” said Villegas, who also finished second with teammate Tiffany Le in the 2023 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship. “I honestly can’t believe I’m here. It’s been a long week, but I’m just so grateful to come out on top. I think I’m just (proud of) my mentality most of all.

“I just really focused on taking everything one shot at a time, one day at a time and one match at a time, and not letting myself get too far ahead or think of the outcome. My game has really come a long way and I’m just really confident right now. I feel like I’m pretty tough to beat because I limit my mistakes.

“I knew (Sung) was a little bit of a longer hitter than I am, but I really didn’t let that affect me. I still laid up. I was just really dialed in with my wedges and my numbers because I knew pars and birdies were good.”

Sung took a 1-up lead with a birdie on the second hole, but Villegas won the next three holes with pars to go 2-up and never trailed again. Sung got one back with a birdie at No. 8, but  Villegas regained her 2-up lead by winning the ninth hole with a par.

Villegas stayed consistent with pars over the next four holes and put the match away by winning the 14th and 15th holes, with pars of course.

“The putts weren’t dropping today, unfortunately,” said Sung, who won the Pacific Northwest Amateur earlier in the month “I got a little nervous over a couple of those early on and couldn’t really give up anything.

“Kate played great. It was a battle, for sure, and I’m still proud of how I got here.”

Villegas downing Taylor Riley of San Diego, 5 and 4, in the semifinals, while Sung got past Jasmine Leavao of Oceanside, 1 up.

Past winners of the California Women’s Amateur include Juli Inkster, Amy Alcott, Patty Sheehan, Mina Harigae, Angel Yin, Natalie Gulbis, Shelley Hamlin, Emilee Klein, Dorothy Delasin, Cory Weworski, Andrea Gaston, Lynne Cowan, Marianne Towersey, Amari Avery, Amy Fruwith, Patricia Cornett and Annika Borrelli in each of the last two years.

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