Bunque bounces back as Yip departs

Sophie Yip
Young New South Welshwoman Sophie Yip showed she could well be a force in future US Amateurs.

Melbourne’s Stephanie Bunque has advanced to the match play phase of the US Women’s Amateur at the Golf Club of Tennessee.

Riding a rousing chorus of birdies and overcoming a nasty double-bogey seven on the par-five seventh hole, Bunque’s second-round 69 gave her a two-under total and a share of 22nd place before the match play seedings.

The final composition of the knockout field won’t be known until after a nine-for-one playoff for the 64th and final berth, but Bunque will tee off against American Lauren Stephenson at 3.20am (Australian eastern time overnight).

Sadly, young Sydneysider Sophie Yip didn’t push through the stroke play, bowing out after what will surely be an invaluable week of lessons.

Yip, a member at Concord, made three early bogeys in her second round and pushed fruitlessly to find a birdie to turn her chances around. Her five-over-par 76 gave her a +5 overall total and a share of 90th in her first attempt at at arguably the world’s largest amateur event having just turned 14.

Bunque, 20, had in mind pre-tournament that two level-par rounds would likely be enough to advance.

“So even when I made that ugly double on seven, I was still square and I didn’t get down on myself,” Bunque said .

“I wasn’t disheartened at all, kept my chin up parred the next two and then managed to make a few birdies coming in – even made a few putts, which isn’t like me,” she joked.

Bunque, who was unable to practice on Saturday while on crutches with peroneal tendonitis, said her foot had improved dramatically and was no longer an issue in her swing.

“So I’m really glad with that and things like the double-bogey … that I’ve just been able to roll with the punches and I was really happy to post something in red numbers.”

Yip was left a little disappointed, but certainly not down after finishing three shots adrift of the two-round cut mark.

The NSW state team representative battled all day, but was unable to convert chances into birdies when it mattered.

“I managed to sink a few clutch putts, but none of my birdie putts would drop,” she said.

”I didn’t play that bad today.”

The whole week, however, was an experience edged in gold for the young talent, and one she will build upon as she grows and her game develops.

“It’s hard to compete against some of these women, especially when they hit it 30-40 metres past me,” she said.

“I know what I need to work on to take myself to the next level now – I have to get stronger.

“Dad told me to start eating and exercise more,” Yip said with a giggle.

American Lucy Li, 15, became just the third player to earn medal honours at both the US Girls’ Junior and US Women’s Amateur in the same year when she shared the nine-under-par total with Korean Selin Hyun, 17.

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