Fort, Hou in all-Wildcats Ladies’s Newbie closing

Golf

HARRISON, N.Y. — Kentucky junior Jensen Fort rallied to advance to the U.S. Ladies’s Newbie closing Saturday, beating NCAA champion Rachel Heck of Stanford with a 15-foot birdie putt on the nineteenth gap.

Fort, from West Columbia, South Carolina, will face Arizona junior Hou Yu-chiang of Taiwan within the 36-hole closing. Hou beat Michigan State sophomore Valentina Rossi of Argentina 2 up.

Two holes down after Heck received the par-4 sixteenth with a birdie, Fort took the par-3 sixteenth with a par and tied it with a par on the par-5 18th when Heck missed a 4-footer.

“I assumed for certain she received,” Fort mentioned. “I could not imagine she missed it. After I knew she gave me that chance, I used to be like, ‘All proper, I birdied earlier, I’ll I birdie this once more.’ And I went after it.”

After Fort made her birdie putt on the 274-yard, par-4 nineteenth, Heck missed a 10-footer.

“It is robust, however, I imply, I performed an excellent playoff gap,” Heck mentioned. “She made the putt, and I do not understand how I missed. It was an excellent roll.”

Fort survived a 12-for-2 playoff late Tuesday simply to qualify for match play. She’s attempting to develop into the third No. 63 seed to win a USGA title, following Clay Ogden (2005 U.S. Newbie Public Hyperlinks) and Steven Fox (2012 U.S. Newbie).

“I maintain forgetting I am the 63rd seed,” mentioned Fort, who has been taking part in by way of a rib damage many of the summer season. “I really feel like seeds are irrelevant when you get into match play. It is everybody’s sport. I am simply glad that the physician mentioned I might play.”

She’s 248th within the girls’s world newbie rating.

Heck, from Memphis, Tennessee, missed an opportunity to affix former Georgia star Vicki Goetze (1992) as the one gamers to win NCAA Division I particular person and U.S. Ladies’s Newbie titles in the identical yr. In Might, Heck capped her freshman yr at Stanford with the NCAA particular person title — her sixth victory of the season. She’s No. 2 within the girls’s world newbie rating.

Hou, recovering from {a partially} torn labrum in her left, received the par-4 seventeenth with a par to take the lead and completed off Rossi with a birdie win on 18.

“I am not nervous, however I knew I could not do something if it is due to my dangerous shot,” Hou mentioned. “So I simply attempt to focus extra on my shot by shot and attempt to hit greens after which simply get again to my regular routine.”

Each finalists are exempt into the 2022 U.S. Ladies’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Resort. Fort would wrap up a spot on the U.S. Curtis Cup crew with a victory.

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