Aug. 12, 2007
Incoming UCLA freshman Maria Jose Uribe became the first Colombian ever to win a USGA title defeating Amanda Blumenherst 1-up in the 107th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at Crooked Stick GC in Carmel, IN.
Uribe also is the second player from South America to claim a USGA title this year, joining U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina. Uribe, 17, becomes the first UCLA player since Kay Cockerill, won the second of two straight U.S. Amateur titles in 1987.
Uribe and Blumenherst were never separated by more than a one-hole margin in their 36-hole match. They were all-square after the morning 18. Blumenherst finally gave Uribe the winning edge on the 193-yard, par-3 35th hole.
With the match all-square, Blumenherst hit a 5-iron 18 feet short of the hole. Uribe followed with a towering 5-iron shot to seven feet. The 20-year old Duke junior rammed it well past the hole.
"I definitely got out of my game," Blumenherst said. "I thought she was going to make [her putt]. I thought I needed to and I wanted it...I just hit it way too hard."
Blumenherst three-putted, missing par from six feet, and Uribe made her par for a one-hole lead with a hole to play.
Uribe made sure she avoided the water hazard down the right side of the fairway on the par-4 18th, but hooked her drive 35 yards into the left rough, a spot she had visited three times in this championship. She recovered with a 7-iron shot to the front of the green, 55 feet from the hole.
In the desperate position of having to win the 36th, Blumenherst drove into the fairway, then powered an 8-iron 150 yards toward the flagstick. Her ball hit five feet from the hole but trickled into the back fringe.
Uribe left her approach putt five feet short and Blumenherst then chipped to within a foot of the hole.
Uribe's five-footer was for the title. "It was in my hands to finish the tournament," Uribe said. "I didn't need her to miss any putt. I just needed to make that one. That is the best part of my game, the five-footers and four-footers."
Uribe's putt went in and she won the match, becoming the 12th foreign player to win the Women's Amateur championship.
The new champion said she felt relief, "because it was over. And, I was just excited. You think that you are going to be so happy but you don't realize what you have done. I think it's going to take awhile."
The twosome recorded 17 birdies, one eagle and only six bogeys in the 36-hole match. With the usual match-play concessions, Uribe was seven- under par for 36 holes and Blumenherst was six-under. Blumenherst led during 13 holes of the match. Uribe led just four times but her most important 1-up lead was at the end.
Hispanic members of Crooked Stick Golf Club's grounds crew cheered loudly for Uribe.
Uribe is also the third consecutive international player to advance to the final. She follows Katharina Schallenberg of Germany in 2006 and Maru Martinez of Venezuela in 2005
The winner receives a golf medal and the custody of the Robert Cox Cup for the ensuing year as well as a 10-year exemption for the Women's Amateur and a two-year exemption for the Women's Open.
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