Jensen Castle to play for the US Women’s Amateur title

University of Kentucky rising junior Jensen Castle from West Columbia is one of the finalists for the USGA Women’s Amateur Championship. (USGA Photo)

Jensen Castle was seeded 63rd and barely made the Match Play bracket at the US Women’s Amateur.

Now after wins over some of the highest ranked players in women’s amateur golf, Castle will play for the USGA Women’s Amateur Championship on Sunday.

Castle was two down to Rachel Heck, the reigning NCAA champion from Stanford , after the 15th hole of their semi-final match.

Castle played steady golf parring her three final holes, while Heck bogeyed two of her final three holes to send the match to extra holes.

Castle didn’t think she had a chance to keep the match going as Heck lined up what could have been the winning par putt on the 18th hole.

She needed a four-footer to advance to the finals, but pulled the putt badly.

“I thought for sure she won,” said Castle of Heck’s par putt on 18. “I couldn’t believe she missed it. When I knew she gave me that opportunity I was like, ‘All right, I birdied [No. 10] earlier, I’m going to birdie this again,’ and I went after it,” she said.

The birdie Castle made the first time she played the 10th hole in the match tied her with Heck, this time the birdie she made on the same hole in the playoff won the match.

“I keep forgetting I’m the 63rd seed,” said Castle, who has battled a rib injury most of the summer. “I feel like seeds are irrelevant once you get into match play. It’s everyone’s game. I’m just glad that the doctor said I could play,” said the former two-time South Carolina High School state champion.

Yu-Chiang Hou defeated Valentine Rossi to advance to the USGA Women’s Amateur finals on Sunday. (USGA Photo)

Castle will now face another difficult opponent in Yu-Chiang Hou from Chinese Taipei. Hou, who plays for Arizona, was named the Women’s Golf Coaches Association freshman of the year.

She won her semi-final match with a 2 Up victory over Michigan State golfer Valentina Rossi from Argentina .

Ironically the schools the finalist represent both have Wildcats as their team mascot, so a WIldcat will be the next USGA Women’s Amateur champion.

Jensen Castle will play for the USGA Women's Amateur championship on Sunday at the Westchester Country Club in New York.
West Columbia’s Jensen Castle tries to coax a putt into the hole during the semi-final round of the USGA Women’s Amateur. Castle won the right to play for the national championship winning her match with Rachel Heck in 19 holes. (USGA Photo)

If Castle can win the championship on Sunday she will be the second Palmetto State golfer to win the title.

Furman legend and LPGA Hall of Fame member Beth Daniel won the title twice in 1975 and 1977.

The last time a golfer from South Carolina was a finalist was in 2002 when Furman’s Brandi Jackson lost out in the finals to Becky Lucidi 3 & 2.

Castle and Hou will play a 36 hole final. The first 18 holes begin at 8 am at the Westchester Country Club. The golfers take a break and then play the second 18 holes starting around 1:pm.

The Golf Channel will have coverage starting at 2:pm on Sunday.

USGA Women’s Amateur Semi-Final scores–women-s-amateur.html#!scoring

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