By Ian Thompson
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
SHOAL CREEK — University of Alabama sophomore Kristen Gillman shot rounds of 70-74-75-74—293 for a five-over-par total and a tie for 27th in the U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek that concluded on Sunday.
Former Crimson Tide standout Emma Talley had rounds of 74-71-74-77–296 to finish on eight-over-par and in a tie for 41st.
And former UA golfer Jenny Suh missed the 36-hole cut.
“I felt like I learned a lot this week, that I am able to compete out here even though there’s still a few things that I need to work on,” Gillman said. “My game is definitely turning in the right direction, so that definitely feels nice.”
“(The week) really surpassed any expectations (I had).”
Gillman has a full summer of golf lined up include representing the U.S. in the Curtis Cup and Palmer Cup, along with the Women’s Amateur and an event on the Japanese LPGA Tour. She confirmed she would be be back for her junior year on the golf team at UA.
Talley, who is a member at Shoal Creek, admitted she did not play as well as she would have hoped this week.
“This has been a really rough week for me, but still a dream come true, getting to play the U.S. Open at your home course. I didn’t play well, but I’ll remember this forever.”
Did the pressure of playing her home course get to her?
“I don’t think so. I felt really at peace this week. Yeah, I felt pretty confident, but my game just wasn’t there.”
“I take pride in being a member here. I’m very honored to be a member here and Shoal Creek did a wonderful job. We got done on a Sunday. If you would have told me that on Wednesday (after very, very heavy rainfall from remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto), I would not have believed you. It was very much of a team effort this week. A shout-out to the greens crew and the staff. Even the members were out filling divots.”
Ariya Jutanugarn led by as many as seven shots when she made the turn, but a triple bogey on No. 10 derailed her victory march. She would eventually win in a playoff with from Hyo-Joo Kim, who shot a closing round of 67, the lowest round of the day by two, with Jutanugarn shooting 73.
The playoff was cumulative over the first two holes (Nos. 14 and 18) with Jutanugarn making two pars, while Kim went birdie-bogey. They then went into sudden death with both making pars on No. 14. The deadlock was finally broken on No. 18 with Jutanugarn getting up-and-down from the sand for a par, while Kim failed to do so and made bogey so Jutanugarn was crowned the national champion.