Anne-Catherine Tanguay has reached the quarter-finals of the U.S. Women's Amateur Publc Links.
The Canadian is from Quebec City but she's enjoying a home-field advantage as she progresses through her Publinks bracket -- the prestigious championship is being held at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, her home course while attending the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.
Tanguay, a 22-year-old senior at Oklahoma, won two matches Thursday in the win-or-go-home format to reach the quarters Friday. She defeated Chaewon Park of the United States 5 and 3 in the morning session and edged Krista Puisite of Latvia in the afternoon 2 up.
“It was just a perfect day,” Tanguay, who received congratulatory hugs from OU coaches and players at the 18th green after closing out Puisite, told USGA.org. “I just know how to play the course in these conditions. That played to my advantage.”
The only Canadian left in the championship faces American Doris Chen in the final eight. Chen, the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, shared medalist honours in the stroke-play portion of the Publinks.
The Publinks began with two stroke-play qualifying rounds in which the lowest 64 scorers advanced to match play. The quarter-final and semi-final rounds are scheduled for Friday, with the 36-hole championship match on Saturday.
The championship is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. Among the past Publinks winners on the winner's side is Michelle Wie.
COMING NORTH: Notah Begay III will make a rare tournament start this summer when he tees it up at the PGA Tour Canada’s Dakota Dunes Open in July.
The four-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t played much competitively of late, and has moved his career to the broadcast booth. He’s an analyst this year for NBC and Golf Channel.
But he’ll venture north to join the field at the developmental circuit’s stop in Saskatoon. The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, which sponsors the tournament, invited Begay, who is a full-blooded American Indian.
“Notah’s participation elevates the profile of our Saskatchewan event as one of the top stops on the new tour,” tournament director Hugh Vassos said in a release.
Begay will also take part in other activities during tournament week, including a pro-am and a clinic for First Nations juniors. “I’m also excited to engage members of the First Nations community and its youth in an effort to promote my message of educational pursuit and personal health,” he said.
The tournament, the third event of the PGA Tour Canada’s inaugural season, begins July 4 at Dakota Dunes Golf Links.
SHAW FIELD: Steve Elkington, John Cook and Kenny Perry are the first three players confirmed for the inaugural Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary this summer.
The Champions Tour event at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club begins Aug. 30.
Other names will be announced over the coming weeks, with the final field to be confirmed Aug. 23.
CANADIAN ADVANCES: One of the Canadians in the match-play portion of the U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship won her first-round match on Wednesday.
Anne-Catherine Tanguay of Quebec City edged Chonlada Chayanun of Thailand 2 and 1 at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla.
She’ll play Chaewon Park of the United States in the Round of 32 Thursday.
Taylor Schmidt of Kincardine, Ont., fell in 19 holes to American Grace Na.
Tanguay and Schmidt are both students at the University of Oklahoma, which is also located in Norman.
BREAK ON THROUGH: Graham DeLaet has won almost $1-million (U.S.) on the PGA Tour since January, but he doesn’t consider 2013 his breakthrough year.
He wants a victory first before he can make that claim.
“Without the win, I don’t consider it a breakthrough,” the Weyburn, Sask., native said during a conference call Tuesday evening with media.
In his third full season on the PGA Tour, DeLaet has posted three top-10 finishes.
At the Crowne Plaza Invitational last month, he had a share of the lead early in the fourth round before fading to a tie for 22nd place.
The $933,587 he’s won is nearing his career best of $1.05-million last year and he still has a third of a season to go. (He missed much of 2011 with a back injury.) “The thing I’m most proud of this year is my consistency,” Canada’s top-ranked male player said. “I’ve been solid week to week.”
While in previous years he might have finished 50th or 60th when he made the cut, he said, this year he’s more likely to be 15th to 30th.
His experience, he said, is giving him confidence that he can soon take a title.
His next chance is this week at the Travelers Championship near Hartford. He’s one of four Canadians in the field along with Stephen Ames, Mike Weir and Brad Fritsch.
DeLaet is returning to action after a two-week break. After a busy May in which he played every week, he decided to take some down time to rest up for the stretch run of the PGA Tour season.
The break meant he missed the final U.S. Open qualifying tournament (and thus the U.S. Open) but he said Tuesday he was thinking of the long term.
He held the conference call to discuss his role at the Dakota Dunes Open, a PGA Tour Canada event in his home province.
He will serve as honorary chairman.
(He’ll also hold a charity golf tournament in Saskatoon to raise money for junior golf in Saskatchewan, which he described as increasing in strength, going from a handful of good players when he competed as a youth to 50 or 60 now.) It wasn’t so long ago that DeLaet was on the developmental circuit, then known as the Canadian Tour. He reminisced Tuesday about his days playing north of the border before heading off to the PGA Tour for good in 2010.
“The one thing I can remember is renting a car, having the three of us (he and two fellow players) in this little PT Cruiser, with all our luggage and golf clubs in there,” he said with a laugh.
“It was a lot of fun back then, but things are definitely different now. We’re flying everywhere we go. Luckily I have my wife (Ruby) with me now booking all my travel. I just have to show up at the airport and jump on the plane.”
It’s a good life. The only thing missing is that elusive first victory.
STATS PACK: In a sign of DeLaet’s improving play, he’s ranked first in greens in regulation this year on the PGA Tour. He’s hit 72.03 per cent this year over the 58 rounds he’s played.
The long bomber is also eighth in driving distance, with an average pop of 301.6 yards off the tee – 3.3 yards behind leader Dustin Johnson.
BURKE BACK IN: Cam Burke of New Hamburg, Ont., has qualified for the Web.com Tour’s Rex Hospital Open this week in Raleigh, N.C.
The former Canadian Amateur champion, who plays mostly on U.S. mini-tours and broke through for his first pro victory this spring, got into the event by tying for third place at one of its qualifying tournaments Monday.
Burke also played his way in the Web.com Tour’s Mid-Atlantic Championship two weeks ago. He missed the cut.
PUBLINKS PLAYERS: Two Canadians will be in the match-play portion of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.
Anne-Catherine Tanguay of Quebec City tied for seventh place in the 36-hole, stroke-play portion of the prestigious amateur event, which is open to public course players. Taylor Schmidt of Kincardine, Ont., shared 51st.
The top 64 advanced to match play, which begins Wednesday. Each head-to-head match is an elimination match.
A Ram Choi of Surrey, B.C., was among the 92 who didn’t advance Tuesday, missing the top 64 by one stroke.
Tanguay and Schmidt should both feel at home as the tournament progresses in Norman, Okla., where they both go to university as teammates with the Oklahoma Sooners.
PRECOCIOUS YOUTH: Lucy Li of Redwood City, Calif., also advanced to match play at the Publinks. She’s 10. Surprisingly, the 4-foot-11, 80-pounder isn’t the youngest competitor in the event’s history. That distinction belongs to Allisen Corpuz, who qualified for the 2008 Publinks at 10 also, but was a few months younger than Li is now.
LPGA Tour regular Michelle Wie also qualified as a 10-year-old and won the event when she was 13.
BACK HOME: Canadians Ryan Yip and Mackenzie Hughes are scheduled to play in the PGA Tour Canada’s ATB Financial Classic in Calgary this week, fresh from their appearance at the U.S. Open.
Yip of Calgary and Hughes of Dundas, Ont., didn’t make the cut at Merion Golf Club. But perhaps the experience on the brutally difficult course will make the ATB seem all the easier.
ATB entrants Jesse Smith, an American who lives part-time on the Six Nations reserve in Southwestern Ontario, and Wil Collins were also at Merion.