For the third consecutive summer, the Kennesaw State golfer advanced to at least one of the USGA’s biggest tournaments. This time, it’s the U.S. Women’s Amateur after she gained one of 10 berths from Tuesday’s qualifier at Pinetree Country Club.
Playing on the course adjacent to the Kennesaw State campus, Preamchuen shot 1-over par 73 to finish in a two-way tie for sixth in a field of 93. Ashley Holder, who plays at Central Florida, and Mercedes Huarte, a former Jacksonville State golfer, each shot 69 to lead the qualifier.
Pinetree, which played to a par-72, 6,303-yard layout, was one of 18 qualifying sites for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, which will be held Aug. 4-10 at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y.
Preamchuen, a rising senior from Thailand, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2012, and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links last year.
A little over a month ago, she and Kennesaw State teammate Ines Lescudier finished 1-2 at the Public Links qualifier in Covington. They will play in the national event next week in DuPont, Wash.
“I feel like this year is my year,” Preamchuen said of her summer success. “I played well during the season, and it’s continued this summer. I qualified for the Public Links, and now I’m in the Amateur.”
“I’m excited to represent KSU at these big tournaments. I qualified for the Amateur two years ago, and didn’t do well, but this time, I want to make the cut and get to match play.”
Preamchuen, who started on the back nine, ran into trouble before the turn, bogeying 13 and 14. She then birdied 15 and bogeyed 18 to make the turn at 2-over.
Preamchuen birdied the par-5 second, only to bogey No. 3 before salvaging her round with a birdie on the par-3 eighth.
“It was tough out there (Tuesday),” she said. “It’s my home course, but I think playing against that bigger field threw me off a bit. The first nine holes were tough, and the greens were faster than I expected, but I focused on my golf game. It was hard, but fun. I played like I normally play.”
Preamchuen’s older sister, former Kennesaw State standout Ket Preamchuen, played in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur, making match play.
Lescudier, Colleen Panosian and Sydney Conrad also competed Tuesday, but failed to qualify.
Lescudier, a native of France and rising senior, tied for 29th at 77. Even at the turn, she had three bogeys and a double bogey on the back.
Panosian, a former Whitefield Academy standout and rising junior at Florida Southern, was among 10 tied for 19th at 76.
The Pinetree member got off to a bad start with a triple-bogey on the par-4 first hole and never really recovered. She sprinkled three birdies in with two double bogeys the rest of the way but failed to rally.
“That’s how I didn’t want to start,” Panosian said about the triple bogey on No. 1. “I put up a big number early. It was a grind and a battle, but I enjoyed it. I’m glad I was able to make a couple of birdies and finished well.”
Panosian shot par over her final four holes, but understands she could have done better.
“There are a million things I wish I could have done differently,” she said. “It’s a bittersweet feeling, because it was my home course, but I didn’t make the cut. I felt comfortable and familiar and felt like I could have scored better, but better golfers outplayed me.”
Conrad, a former Harrison High School standout, matched Panosian at 76.
A rising senior at Troy, she started well, with a birdie on her first hole, but made the turn at 2-over. After bogeys on Nos. 11 and 14, Conrad’s score increased to as much as 5-over after a double bogey on 6 and bogey on 8, but a birdie on the par-5 ninth helped salvage her round.
“I was fighting my putter the whole time,” Conrad said. “I was pretty comfortable after my first nine holes and made some clutch shots to keep from falling behind too much. I chose to be aggressive off the tee at (No. 6), but I pushed it right and ended up three-putting. I lost my momentum and got nervous. I needed to pull myself together, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t finish the way I wanted to.”