The sudden-death playoff at the North & South Women’s Amateur is just example No. 2,543 that golf is a small game. In the showdown between golf buddies Ivy Shepherd and Rachel Heck for North & South medalist honors, Shepherd came out ahead.
Courtesy of her playoff birdie on the 14th hole at Pinehurst No. 2, Shepherd always draws the No. 1 seed on the match-play bracket. The head-to-head component of this competition begins on Thursday.
“After I turned in my scorecard, I was scrolling and scrolling to see who I was playing in the playoff,” Shepherd told Pinehurst writer Alex Podlogar. “Then I saw, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Rachel. What the heck? It’s Rachel who’s going to make us play extra holes?’”
Heck and Shepherd both finished 36 holes at 5 under. Heck, a Stanford commit who has already made the cut in two LPGA majors, fired a second-round 66 at Pinehurst No. 4 on Wednesday to climb the leaderboard. It followed an opening 73 on No. 2.
Scores: North & South Women’s Amateur
Shepherd, a Clemson junior, had rounds of 70-69, with the latter on No. 4.
At the top of the bracket, Shepherd now takes on Annika Borrelli, the No. 32 seed who plays for San Francisco. Directly below that is relative Pinehurst local Gina Kim, a rising Duke junior who grew up just north of here and burst onto the scene at the 2019 NCAA Championship, which the Blue Devils won.
Kim draws Allysha Mae Mateo, a BYU sophomore from Honolulu, in the first round of match play. Kim’s Duke teammate Megan Furtney, who finished T-3 on the stroke-play leaderboard with rounds of 70-71, takes on Notre Dame’s Lauren Beaudreau. Both women are Illinois natives.
Megha Ganne, a semifinalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur a year ago, opened this championship with a 68 on No. 2. She backed up to 75 in the second round, but still landed the seventh seed. Ganne, who recently announced she would play her college golf at Stanford, faces Virginia Tech’s Rebecca DiNunzio in the first round.
Consider the marquee match of the first round to be Emilia Migliaccio, No. 5 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, against Lei Ye, the reigning U.S. Girls’ Junior champ. Both have stout resumes in the head-to-head format.
Migliaccio made it to the North & South semifinals in 2019. Allisen Corpuz also went deep on the bracket, advancing to the quarterfinals before falling to Migliaccio. Corpuz, who recently finished her fourth year at USC, is back on the bracket this week and faces Vanderbilt’s Louise Yu in the first round.
Notable names left just outside the cutline include last week’s North & South Junior champion Amanda Sambach as well as former U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Lauren Greenlief.
Top junior Alexa Pano missed the cut after finishing at 9 under, and seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port was also on that number. The 58-year-old, who won last year’s North & South Women’s Senior Amateur, will get another shot at match play next month considering that she’s exempt into the U.S. Women’s Amateur.