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U.S. Women's Four-Ball: Seumanutafa, Choi open with record 60
Aneka Seumanutafa and Faith Choi (USGA photo)
Aneka Seumanutafa and Faith Choi (USGA photo)

A pair of Maryland teenagers, Aneka Seumanutafa and Faith Choi, made U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball history on Saturday, blitzing Timuquana Country Club for a 12-under 60 in the first round of stroke play in the fifth edition of the championship.

The previous 18-hole stroke-play record was 64, which had been accomplished twice: by Brittany Fan and Esther Lee in Round 2 at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2017, and by Yachun Chang and Lei Ye in Round 1 at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., in 2018.

They did it despite Seumanutafa not having seen the course before she teed it up on Saturday morning. The 18-year-old from Emmitsburg, Md., led the way with 10 of the side’s 12 birdies on a bogey-free card over the 6,238-yard layout designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1923.

“I have experience at Pinehurst No. 2,” said Seumanutafa, who won the 2017 North & South Girls’ Junior title on that classic Ross design. On Saturday, the two-time Maryland women’s amateur champion reeled off birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 7, 8 and 10 through 15. None of the birdie putts the duo converted was longer than 10 feet, and Choi narrowly missed a birdie from 10 feet on the par-4 18th that would have given them a round of 59. She contributed birdies on Nos. 1 and 6.

“Because I had a college final, I just flew in this morning and got my information from her,” said Seumanutafa, who was home-schooled and enrolled at Ohio State University in January. “I’m a long hitter, so I had a lot of wedges in.”

“To be honest, this is our first time playing four-ball,” said Choi, 16, of Frederick, Md., who is also home-schooled and has committed to Ohio State in 2020. She got in one practice round on Friday at Timuquana, and the two pointed to Choi’s consistency and Seumanutafa’s aggressive play as their trademarks. “We’ve practiced and played a lot of junior golf together as teammates, but not necessarily as partners.”

Seumanutafa has one more final exam next week in Columbus before she competes with her Buckeye teammates in the Washington Regional of the NCAA Championships. But first, she and Choi will try to ride the momentum of this glorious start all the way to the championship.

Julia Potter-Bobb and Kelsey Chugg, a pair of U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions, had the second-best score of the day, a 7-under 65. Three sides finished at 6 under. The field will be trimmed from 64 sides to 32 sides after Sunday’s second round of stroke play.

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball

The U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA championship, was played for the first time in 2015 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon. It immediately became one of the USGA's most popular tournaments. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those women with a Handicap Index of 14.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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