Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The Round of 16

This afternoon, West Hartford's Elizabeth Janangelo stood over her tee shot on the first hole at Sleepy Hollow. And just nailed it. The first hole at Sleepy Hollow is 400 yards long. Ms. Janangelo left herself an approach shot that was no more than 90 yards to the flag.

She played her heart out there all day today in sweltering heat, and with young Scott Peper on the bag (giving her some good local knowledge), she cruised into the round of 16. Along with Scotland's Vikki Laing, Ms. Janangelo has emerged as the crowd favorite of the US Women's Amateur.

Janangelo can really play. Tied with more than a dozen others on the qualification cutline in the dying light of a Tuesday evening playoff, she hit a perfect tee shot, a slightly overcooked approach shot and then drained a nasty 25-footer to make it into the Round of 64. This morning she beat the medalist to advance to the Round of 32. This afternoon, she crushed a great young California woman player. Being from the Northeast, she is comfortable with the quirky contours of courses like Sleepy Hollow. She knows the terrain.

The other women out there who catches your eye is Vikki Laing. This afternoon, Ms. Laing hit 3-wood off the first tee, with such lovely timing and tempo, I thought I was looking at Ernie Els's female twin. The ball ended up about 140 from the middle. Yes it was downwind. Yes it was hot and the ball was jumping. But 260 off the 1st tee with a 3-wood, center-strip of the fairway, is big time golf.

Anyway, Laing's a player, as are they all in the round of 16. I urge you to watch it if you get a chance. ESPN will provide coverage beginning tomorrow at 3pm eastern time.

PS: Australian Katherine Hull, who played so valiantly against the defending champion this morning, lost her afternoon round. Along with Texan Robin Burke, who also lost this afterrnoon, Hull was the favorite of our little viewing group. Hats off to both women. They conducted themselves with dignity and grace in defeat.