US Women’s Amateur
Who: Kristen Gillman vs. Jiwon Jeon
When: Sunday, 7 a.m. CT morning round, 12:30 p.m. CT afternoon round
Format: 36-hole match play
TV: FS1 coverage starts at 1 p.m. CT
Online: Live stream starts at 9 a.m. CT on USGA.org
KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. – Alabama’s Kristen Gillman and Jiwon Jeon will meet for U.S. Women’s Amateur championship on Sunday after both Crimson Tide golfers clinched their semifinal matchups with playoff victories on Saturday at the Golf Club of Tennessee.
The winner of Sunday’s championship will join former Tide All-American Emma Talley as Alabama’s second U.S. Amateur champion. Talley took home the title at the 2013 tournament in Charleston, S.C.
The matchup will also be the first between two college golfers from the same school in the 118-year history of the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Jeon downed UA teammate Lauren Stephenson on the 23rd hole of their match on Saturday while Gillman rallied to defeat Arkansas’ Kaylee Benton on the 19th hole. Gillman was tied or trailed the entire round before winning the 18th with a bogey then sinking a par putt on the par-3 10th to secure the victory.
“I was having a really rough time with my putting throughout the match,” Jeon said. “But on 18, I was thinking, ‘this is my last chance to continue the match.’ I’ve always wanted to play in this tournament so I’m excited about tomorrow. I just want to play my game and focus on each shot and we’ll see from there.”
Gillman’s win was her second in a row on the 19th hole. The Austin, Texas, native needed an extra hole against top-seeded Lucy Li in Friday’s quarterfinal. Gillman has played 36 regulation holes in the quarterfinals and semifinals without holding a lead at any point but has gone 2-0 on her two playoff holes to reach the championship round. She will be seeking her second U.S. Amateur title. Gillman won the 2014 tournament at Glen Cove, N.Y., as a high schooler.
“I could see the read pretty well,” Gillman said of the putt on 18. “It was just going a little right to left, and there’s no point in overthinking it, especially because I know there was going to be more speed so it’s not going to break as much as it usually would. I just played it barely right of the hole and just wanted to get up there and hit it before I started thinking too much.”
Jeon and Stephenson were all-square through 16 holes before Stephenson took the lead with a birdie on 17. Jeon responded with a birdie of her own on 18 to send the match to sudden death. The pair halved the first four playoff holes before Jeon clinched the match with a birdie on hole 23 and advance to her first U.S. Amateur final.
“It has been a great week in Tennessee for Alabama women’s golf,” Crimson Tide head coach Mic Potter said following Saturday’s play. “Lauren and Kristen continue to perform at a level that has elevated them both to a top 5 ranking in the world and the future looks incredibly bright with Jiwon joining us next week. The final should be exciting to watch, as both Kristen and Jiwon are solid, consistent ball strikers, and seasoned competitors.”
Sunday’s final will be a 36-hole match play competition. Gillman and Jeon will play a morning around beginning at 7 a.m. CT and return to the course for the afternoon round at 12:30 p.m. CT.
Sunday morning’s round will be streamed live at USGA.org beginning at 9 a.m. CT. FS1 will carry the afternoon round beginning at 1 p.m. CT.